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Religion in the sense of morality, must therefore, remain the governing 
principle in every society. 


Babasaheb Dr. B.R. Ambedkar 

(14th April 1891 - 6th December 1956) 


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“ The danger is that the frontiers between 
Pakistan and India that are likely to emerge from 
the labours of the Boundary Commission, however, 
satisfactory they may be from the standpoint of the 
communities immediately affected, will be most 
unsatisfactory from the point of view of India. 

If my fears come true and the boundary 
drawn by the Commission is not a natural one, 
it needs no prophet to say that its maintenance 
will cost the Government of India very dearly and 
it will put the safety and security of the people 
of India in great jeopardy. I hope, therefore, 
that late as it is, the Defence Department will 
bestir itself and do its duty before it is too late.” 
— (P. No. 357) 


— Dr. B. R. Ambedkar 


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DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR 
WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

VOL. 17 
PART TWO 

DR. B . R. AMBEDKAR AND HIS 
EGALITARIAN REVOLUTION 

PART TWO 


SOCIO-POLITICAL, RELIGIOUS ACTIVITIES 


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DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR 

WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

VOL. 17 
PART TWO 


DR. B.R. AMBEDKAR AND HIS 
EGALITARIAN REVOLUTION 


PART TWO 


SOCIO-POLITICAL, RELIGIOUS ACTIVITIES 


Edited by 


HARI NARAKE 


DR. M. L. KASARE 


N. G. RAMBLE 


ASHOK GODGHATE 


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Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar : Writings and Speeches 

Vol. 17 (Part-2) 


First Edition by Education Department, Govt, of Maharashtra : 4 October, 2003 
Re-printed by Dr. Ambedkar Foundation : January, 2014 


ISBN (Set) : 978-93-5109-064-9 


Courtesy : Monogram used on the Cover page is taken from 
Babasaheb Dr. Ambedkar’s Letterhead. 


© 

Secretary 

Education Department 
Government of Maharashtra 


Price : One Set of 1 to 17 Volumes (20 Books) : ? 3000/- 


Publisher : 

Dr. Ambedkar Foundation 

Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment, Govt, of India 

15, Janpath, New Delhi - 110 001 

Phone : 011-23357625, 23320571, 23320589 

Fax : 011-23320582 

Website : www.ambedkarfoundation.nic.in 


The Education Department Government of Maharashtra, Bombay-400032 
for Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Source Material Publication Committee 


Printer 

M/s. Tan Prints India Pvt. Ltd., N. H. 10, Village-Rohad,Distt. Jhajjar, Haryana 


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Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment 
& Chairperson, Dr. Ambedkar Foundation 



Kumar i Selja 


MESSAGE 


Babasaheb Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, the Chief Architect of Indian Constitution was 
a scholar par excellence, a philosopher, a visionary, an emancipator and a true 
nationalist. He led a number of social movements to secure human rights to the 
oppressed and depressed sections of the society. He stands as a symbol of struggle 
for social justice. 

The Government of Maharashtra has done a highly commendable work of 
publication of volumes of unpublished works of Dr. Ambedkar, which have brought 
out his ideology and philosophy before the Nation and the world. 

In pursuance of the recommendations of the Centenary Celebrations Committee 
of Dr. Ambedkar, constituted under the chairmanship of the then Prime Minister 
of India, the Dr. Ambedkar Foundation (DAF) was set up for implementation of 
different schemes, projects and activities for furthering the ideology and message 
of Dr. Ambedkar among the masses in India as well as abroad. 

The DAF took up the work of translation and publication of the Collected Works 
of Babasaheb Dr. B.R. Ambedkar published by the Government of Maharashtra 
in English and Marathi into Hindi and other regional languages. I am extremely 
thankful to the Government of Maharashtra’s consent for bringing out the works 
of Dr. Ambedkar in English also by the Dr. Ambedkar Foundation. 

Dr. Ambedkar’s writings are as relevant today as were at the time when 
these were penned. He firmly believed that our political democracy must stand on 
the base of social democracy which means a way of life which recognizes liberty, 
equality and fraternity as the principles of life. He emphasized on measuring the 
progress of a community by the degree of progress which women have achieved. 
According to him if we want to maintain democracy not merely in form, but also 
in fact, we must hold fast to constitutional methods of achieving our social and 
economic objectives. He advocated that in our political, social and economic life, 
we must have the principle of one man, one vote, one value. 

There is a great deal that we can learn from Dr. Ambedkar’s ideology and 
philosophy which would be beneficial to our Nation building endeavor. I am glad 
that the DAF is taking steps to spread Dr. Ambedkar’s ideology and philosophy 
to an even wider readership. 

I would be grateful for any suggestions on publication of works of Babasaheb 
Dr. Ambedkar. , 



(Kumari Selja) 


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Collected Works of Babasaheb Dr. Ambedkar (CWBA) 

Editorial Board 

Kumari Selja 

Minister for Social Justice & Empowerment, Govt, of India 

and 

Chairperson, Dr. Ambedkar Foundation 

Shri Manikrao Hodlya Gavit 

Minister of State for Social Justice & Empowerment, Govt, of India 

Shri P. Balram Naik 

Minister of State for Social Justice & Empowerment, Govt, of India 

Shri Sudhir Bhargav 

Secretary 

Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment, Govt, of India 


Shri Sanjeev Kumar 

Joint Secretary 

Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment, Govt, of India 

and 

Member Secretary, Dr. Ambedkar Foundation 


Shri Viney Kumar Paul 

Director 

Dr. Ambedkar Foundation 


Shri Kumar Anupam 

Manager (Co-ordination) - CWBA 


Shri Jagdish Prasad ‘Bharti’ 

Manager (Marketing) - CWBA 


Shri Sudhir Hilsayan 

Editor, Dr. Ambedkar Foundation 


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DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR SOURCE 
PUBLICATION COMMITTEE 

1. Hon’ble Shri Laxmanrao Dhoble 
Minister, for Higher Education 

2. Hon’ble Shri Anis Ahmed 

Minister of State For Higher & Tech. Education 

3. Shri R.S.Gavai 

4. Shri Ramdas Athawale 

5. Shri Prakash Ambedkar 

6. Prof. Jogendra Kawade 

7. Prof. N.D.Patil 

8. Dr. Janardan Waghmare 

9. Shri Laxman Mane 

10. Dr.M.L.Kasarc 

11. Shri S.S.Rege 

12. Shri N.G.Kamble 

13. Dr.Yashwant Manohar 

14. Prof.Ashok Godghate 

15. Dr.Gangadhar Pantawane 

16. Prof. Keshav Meshram 

17. Shri T.M.Kamble 

18. Shri Hari Narake Member Secretary, 

Mahatma Phule Source Material Publication 
Committee. 

19. Director Government Printing and Publications 

20. Shrimati Chandra Iyengar, Principal Secretary, 
Higher And Technical Education. 

21. Dr. S.N. Pathan 
Director, Higher Education 

22. Shri Hari Narake 


MATERIAL 

.. PRESIDENT 

.. MEMBER 

. MEMBER 
. MEMBER 
. MEMBER 
. MEMBER 
. MEMBER 
. MEMBER 
. MEMBER 
. MEMBER 
. MEMBER 
. MEMBER 
. MEMBER 
. MEMBER 
. MEMBER 
. MEMBER 
. MEMBER 
. MEMBER 

.. MEMBER 
.. MEMBER 

.. CONVENOR 

.. MEMBER - 
SECRETARY 


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XI 


CONTENTS 

Sr. No 

Subject 

Page 

(1) 

(2) 

(3) 


Section — I 



ARTICLES, MESSAGES, PREFACES ETC. 


1 . 

Religion and Priest be brought under Proper 
Control. 

3 

2. 

Thoughts on the Reform of Legal Education in 
the Bombay Presidency. 

5 

3. 

Dr. Ambedkar’s reply to Sir S. Radhakrishnan 

19 

4. 

And the Lord said Unto — 

20 

5. 

Untouchable Workers of Bombay City 

64 

6. 

Is Gandhi a Mahatma ? 

66 

7. 

Appeal for Purse to Marathi Scholar 

71 

8. 

Knowledge is Power in every Field of Life 

72 

9. 

Congress Attempts to Bypass Untouchables 

73 

10. 

I do not share Defeatist Mentality 

78 

11. 

Our Students should Learn and Lead 

79 

12. 

Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar’s Message to 1 Maratha 
Mandir ’. 

81 

13. 

Not to stop until the Untouchables recover Manhood. 

83 

14. 

Preface to ‘The Essence of Buddhism’ — Third 
Edition. 

86 

15. 

India’s Ancient past gave place to Pessimism 

89 

16. 

The meaning of the word ‘Receipt’ 

90 


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C ONTENTS — Contd. 


Sr. No 
(1) 

Subject 

(2) 

Page 

(3) 

17. 

Buddha and Future of His Religion 

97 

18. 

The Rise and Fall of the Hindu Woman. 
Who was responsible for it ? 

109 

19. 

Saints’ Literature can help to Moral Rearmament 
of Man. 

130 

20. 

Out line-A People at Bay 

131 

21. 

The Mahars. Who were they and how they 
became the Untouchables ? 

137 

22. 

Republican Party stands for Liberty, Equality, 
Fraternity and Justice. 

151 

23. 

‘Buddha and His Dhamma’ One of the Three 

158 

24. 

Training School for Entrance to Politics 

Section — II 

159 


Dr. B. R. Ambedkar on Cabinet Mission and 
Transfer of Power — Editorial Note. 

165 

1 . 

Proposal for Representation of Scheduled Castes 
in the Executive Council. 

167 

2. 

Memorandum submitted to the Cabinet Mission 

171 

3. 

Dr. Ambedkar’s Interview with Cabinet Mission 

187 

4. 

A Note on the Meeting between Dr. B. R. 
Ambedkar and Field Marshal Viscount Wavell. 

189 

5. 

Separate Settlements for Untouchables 

194 

6. 

Protest letter against the Proposals of Cabinet 
Mission. 

195 

7. 

Letter to A. V. Alexander about the Proposals of Cabinet 
Mission. 

199 


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CONTENTS— Contd. 

Sr. No Subject Page 

(1) (2) (3) 

8. Letter to Lord Pethick-Lawrence regarding 207 

Statement issued by Cabinet Mission. 

9. Clarification by Lord Pethick-Lawrence to 209 

Dr. B. R. Ambedkar. 

10. Ambedkar finds Champion in Churchill 210 

11. Hindu-Scheduled Castes Clashes in Bombay 211 

12. Federation Executive resolves on Direct Action 215 

13. Reactions to the British Cabinet Plan 223 

Dr. Ambedkar’s protest to Churchill. 

14. I am fighting for Rights of Scheduled Castes 224 

15. Does the Indian National Congress represent the 225 

Untouchables of India ? 

16. I am a Greater Nationalist than Anybody else 238 

17. Letter by Mr. Attlee to Dr. B. R. Ambedkar 250 

18. Protest letter of Dr. Ambedkar to Mr. Attlee 253 

19. We may be conquered but we shall not Capitulate. 256 

20. Letters by Lord Pethick-Lawrence to Mr. Attlee, 258 

Prime Minister. 

21. The Cabinet Mission and the Untouchables 263 

22. Dr. Ambedkar’s Memorandum 277 

23. Demand for “Political Independence” 278 

24. Churchill-Ambedkar Talks 279 

25. Restore the Separate Electorates 280 

26. Dr. Ambedkar feels British will do Justice 281 

27. Ascertain wishes of Minorities 283 


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CONTENTS— Contd. 


Sr. No. 

Subject 

Page 

(1) 

(2) 

(3) 

28. 

“Dawn” on Ambedkar’s Political Mission to England. 

Section — III 

ON BUILDING OF NATION AND ITS 
DEMOCRACY 

285 

1 . 

Provincial Autonomy without responsibility 
would be unwise. 

289 

2. 

Joint Vs. Separate Electorates : Dr. Ambedkar’s 
Via Media. 

290 

3. 

Assurance will not be loss to Governor ; nor it 
will be Gain to Congress. 

294 

4. 

It is Purely a Party Move, No National Purpose 

299 

5. 

We shall Wage relentless war to Introduce 
Adult Franchise. 

300 

6. 

Mobilise against Federation 
Turning Point in History of Nation. 

302 

7. 

Distributive System of Voting 

305 

8. 

Great Britain must be supported 

306 

9. 

Wisdom and Statesmanship will dawn to 
Prevent India from being Divided into Two Parts. 

314 

10. 

Very Nebulous Plan 

316 

11. 

We can be a Nation only through Social 
Amalagamation. 

318 

12. 

Subhas Chandra Bose meets Dr. B. R. Ambedkar 

319 

13. 

Meaning of the Congress Decision 

320 

14. 

Dr. Ambedkar’s Plan to solve Indian Crisis 
Muslim demand Criticised. 

324 

15. 

Indians Destiny is bound up with the Victory of 
Democracy. 

328 


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CONTENTS— Contd. 


Sr. No. 

Subject 

Page 

(1) 

(2) 

(3) 

16. 

How to end Indian Political Impasse 

333 

17. 

Jinnah’s Fears will have to be Allayed 

335 

18. 

First Proposal on Central Irrigation and 
Waterways Advisory Board. 

337 

19. 

Both are making Serious Mistake 

339 

20. 

Sapru in the wrong 

343 

21. 

Control and utilise the Mahanadi to the Best 
Advantage. 

345 

22. 

We must work in India for creating Co-operative 
Spirit among all Parties. 

347 

23. 

Unless these points were cleared no lead on 
Partition Issue. 

349 

24. 

Government of India will not recognise any 
Princely State as Sovereign Independent. 

350 

25. 

Berar will revert to Nizam on August 15 

353 

26. 

If Boundary drawn is not Natural it will put the 
Safety and Security of the People of India in great 
jeopardy. 

355 

27. 

Indian Citizens have equal Rights before the 
Law. 

358 

28. 

One Official Language for Centre and Provinces 

360 

29. 

India and the British Commonwealth 

361 

30. 

Constitution and Constitutionalism 

374 

31. 

People in India would know their Fundamental 
Rights. 

378 

32. 

What I say is that be Firm and Sincere 

381 


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CONTENTS— Contd. 


Sr. No. 

Subject 

Page 

(1) 

(2) 

(3) 

33. 

No use about Independent Foreign Policy 
without Striking Power 

383 

34. 

U. S. A. inclined towards Pakistan 

384 

35. 

Retain English at any cost 

385 

36. 

One man’s Traffic in Public Affairs 

386 

37. 

Flood-Control : Use of Atomic Power 

387 

38. 

Strongly object creation of Monolithic 
Monstrous States. 

390 

39. 

Ambedkar’s Recipe for Maharashtra 

391 


Section — IV 



INSTITUTIONS, ORGANISATIONS 
AND THEIR CONSTITUTIONS 


1 . 

Bahishkrit Hitkarini Sabha 

395 

2. 

Depressed Classes Institute 

407 

3. 

Independent Labour Party 

413 

4. 

Independent Labour Party : Wide Support 

420 

5. 

I have chosen Bombay as a Place for the College 
for Three Reasons 

423 

6. 

The People’s Education Society Mumbai 

429 

7. 

Appeal by the Hon’ble Dr. B. R. Ambedkar on 
behalf of the People’s Education Society 

442 

8. 

A Social Centre for the Untouchables in Bombay 

445 

9. 

Constitution of All India Scheduled Castes 
Federation 

455 

10. 

The Buddhist Society of India 

478 


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CONTENTS— Contd. 


Sr. No. 
(1) 

Subject 

(2) 

Page 

(3) 


APPENDICES 


Appendix — I : 

Constitution of the All India 
Scheduled Castes Students’ 
Federation. 

487 

Appendix — II : 

The Position of women in 
Hinduism and Buddhism. 

495 

Appendix — III : 

The Cabinet Mission 

499 

Appendix — IV : 

Interviews of Jagjiwan Ram, 
Radhanath Das and Prithvi 
Singh before Cabinet Mission 

505 

Appendix — V : 

Poona Satyagraha 

506 

Appendix — VI : 

Gandhi Dis-franchised 
Untouchables by forcing 
Poona Pact. 

520 

Appendix — VI I : 

Under-Privileged in India sold 
to oppressors. 

523 

Appendix — VIII : 

: The Bihar Provincial 
Depressed Classes League. 

529 

Appendix — IX : 

What about the States ? 

533 

Appendix X : 

Ambedkar Urges States to join 
Indian Union. 

536 

Appendix XI : 

Activities of the Bahishkrit 
Hitkarini Sabha at Bombay. 

540 

Appendix XII : 

People’s Education Society’s 
Institutions. 

544 

Appendix XIII : 

A letter to H. H. Sayajirao 
Gaikwad. 

546 


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VOL. 17 
PART TWO 


SECTION— I 

ARTICLES, MESSAGES, PREFACES ETC. 


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1 

RELIGION AND PRIEST BE BROUGHT 
UNDER PROPER CONTROL 
By 

Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, M. A., Ph. D., D. Sc, Bar-at-Law., M. L. C. 

While at Belgaum I heard of the movement started by 
some of the Parsis in Bombay to found an association, the 
prime object of which shall be the abolition of priesthood as 
a caste. The object of such a body has only to be stated for 
the vast majority of the young educated people of India to 
accept it with alacrity. I do not feel called upon to discuss 
the ways of the Parsi Mobeds. But my Par si friends may 
rest assure that the Hindu priestly classes stand in no way 
superior ethically, educationally or otherwise to the average 
member of the Parsi priesthood. 

A Clog on the wheel 

The counts in the indictment against the hereditary Hindu 
priests are numerous and appalling. He is a clog on the 
wheel of our civilization. Man is born, he weds, becomes the 
father of a family and then in time dies. All along the priest 
shadows him like an evil genius. Deviation from draconian 
rules prescribed by him according to the Shastras and Smritis 
of his own making is punished with a terror which 99 per 
cent are unable to withstand. Ostracism or casting out man 
from Society is the weapon fashioned by the Devil himself. 
This the priest wields with ruthless, relentless and inexorable 
vigour. I must admit the officiating Brahmin is a miserable 
specimen of humanity as a rule. He knows it just as well as 
we do. He practises the shame of being a middleman between 
the unseen powers and the helpless man and makes a living 
by it. Philosophers may well ask, is this class reprobate at 
heart ? But whatever be the answer to the question this 
parasite living upon and eating into the vitals of Society can 
no longer be permitted to function without check or control. 
We in India might take a leaf out of the English reformation 
and bring both the religion and the priest under proper control 
and prevent its rank and wild growth. 


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4 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

A heroic task 

There is also a great necessity for effective legislation 
against superstitious practices prevalent among the masses. 
They find their support in the priest. Wasteful offerings to 
gods and goddesses, long mourning and multiple ceremonies 
at births, deaths and marriages, insensate caste dinners are 
some of the senseless and meaningless practices in which the 
priest delights. Be it an occasion of joy like wedding or sorrow 
like death, it is equally availed of by the priests, many of 
whom pray, as one of the Parsi correspondents, has excellently 
shown, in order to be able to prey on their victims. I say the 
Catalogue of the evils of priesthood is really appalling. Its 
final eradication can only be kept in view as an ideal but 
we cannot start a month too soon in initiating our righteous 
campaign. I cordially welcome the measures concerted by some 
of the leading Parsis. It is really surprising how much priest- 
ridden the Parsi community is. It has been estimated by some 
Parsi friends that for one year after his death, a dead Parsi 
is economically a heavier burden on the poor family than a 
living one. A Parsi newspaper recently gave the instance of 
a man who while living could hardly afford an aluminium 
tumbler. But when he died the priest insisted that a silver 
goblet should be employed in his funeral ceremony. I quote 
this to show that with their keen practical wisdom the Parsis 
have very appropriately taken the lead in initiating measures 
for ridding India of the evil of priest-craft and I have no doubt 
that all enlightened Hindus, Mahomedans and Christians 
will join this heroic and noble task of cleansing priestdom, 
the weight of which they are certainly far less fitted to bear 
than their Parsi brethren ”. 1 

• • 


1 The Bombay Chronicle, dated November 8, 1929. 


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2 

THOUGHTS ON THE REFORM OF LEGAL 
EDUCATION IN THE BOMBAY PRESIDENCY 

By 

Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, M. A., Ph. D., D. Sc, Bar-at-law., Principal, 
Government Law College, Bombay. 

The Legal Profession in the Presidency of Bombay consists 
of diverse elements. There is difference of status and there is 
difference of training. There are six different classes of Legal 
Practitioners in the Presidency viz ; 

1. Barrister-at-Law, 2. Advocates (O. S.), 3. Advocates 
(A. S.) of the Bombay University, 4. Advocates (A.S.) of the 
Bar Council, 5. Solicitors, and 6. Mukhtyars, who have the 
right to practise in the Courts in the Bombay Presidency. The 
extent of legal training which is required from these six classes 
of practitioners varies considerably. The Barrister’s legal 
training extends over three years plus one year in Chambers. 
The Advocate (A.S.) of the Bombay University is a graduate 
of Bombay University who has had a compulsory training in 
Law extending over two years in a recognised Institution. 
Thus, in all he spends six years after his matriculation before 
he becomes entitled to practise. The Advocate (A.S.) of the 
Bar Council is, unlike the Advocate (A.S.) of the Bombay 
University, only a Matriculate and is not required to undergo 
compulsory training in Law in any recognised Institution and 
entitled to appear for the Bar Council Examination without 
any interval being allowed to pass. The Advocate (O.S.) is an 
LL.B. like the Advocate (A.S.) and he has had altogether five 
years of legal training. After an interval of two years after 
taking his LL.B. degree, he appears for the Examination of 
the Advocate (O.S.). He does not even then become entitled 

College Notes 

We, however, note with satisfaction that Mr. Fyzee has handed over charge 
to no less a person than Dr. Ambedkar. A lawyer of repute, he is a 
close student of Economics, an authority on Constitutional Law and 
a personality known throughout India and elsewhere. To write more 
about him would be otiose. Expecting much from our Principal we shall 
not embarrass him now. We prefer to wait and see. 


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6 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

to practise unless, in addition, he spends one year reading 
in the Chambers of a senior practitioner, thus spending 
altogether nine years from his Matriculation. The Solicitor 
is required to be either a B. A. or an L.L.B. before he signs 
Articles with a firm of solicitors. His examination is held three 
years after he has signed his Articles. His previous training, 
therefore, is either seven years if he joins the firm as a 
B. A. or nine years if he joins it as an LL.B. At the lowest 
rung of the ladder is the Mukhtyar. He need have no training 
in Law nor is he required to pass any qualifying test. The 
situation is further complicated by the existence of two other 
circumstances. First is the existence of different authorities 
having the right to examine candidates appearing at the Law 
Examinations. So far as the two classes of Advocates (A.S.) 
are concerned, there are two different authorities which have 
the right to examine. One class is examined by the Bombay 
University and the other by the Bar Council. With regard 
to the Advocate (O.S.) and the Solicitors, the examining 
body is the High Court. It must be noted that none of these 
examining bodies undertakes the responsibility of teaching 
those whom they examined. The second circumstance which 
adds to the complexity of the situation is the difference of 
status among the legal practitioners in the Presidency. The 
Advocates (O.S.) and the Barristers have the whole field open 
to them. They can practise in any Court and on either side of 
the High Court though they can only plead and cannot act. 
The Advocate (A.S.) is restricted so far as the High Court is 
concerned to the Appellate Side. But he can plead as well as 
act. The Solicitor, on the other hand, can practice anywhere 
and so far as the High Court is concerned, on the Original 
Side he can only act while on the Appellate Side he can act 
as well as plead. 

That, there should be such a diversity is the matter 
of qualifications, in the matter of Examinations and in 
the matter of Status among persons practising the same 
profession is a very unfortunate fact. But while it may 
be admitted that all this is very unsatisfactory and even 
deplorable, I do not think it can be argued that all this 
constitutes a problem. Because I am not convinced that the 
system complicated and illogical as it produces any injurious 
results. That, there are anomalies in the situation is beyond 


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doubt ; but there are anomalies also in other Departments of 
Education. To take only two examples, one from the Medical 
and the other from the Engineering Profession. The University 
of Bombay has instituted a course of Medical studies on the 
passing of which a person becomes entitled to the M. B. B. S. 
Degree. Parallel to it and alongside, there is the L.C.P.S. course 
conducted by the Government on the completion of which a 
person becomes entitled to a Diploma. The University of Bombay 
has prescribed a course of Engineering at the end of which 
the Degree of B.E. is conferred on the successful candidates. 
The Victoria Jubilee Technical Institute has also a Course of 
Engineering at the end of which the student gets a Diploma. 
Both the person who gets the University Degree as well as the 
person who gets his Diploma in Medicine or Engineering practise 
the profession and find employment both under Government 
and also outside Government. No one complains about this 
because each class finds a place that is suited to its training. 
This is exactly what happens in the Legal Profession if one 
cares to understand the way it functions. The Mykhtyars are 
confined to Criminal Courts of the lowest order and take up 
petty cases. The Advocate (A.S.) of the Bar Council who has 
become an eyesore to many practitioners practise in the Mofussil 
Courts of Sub- Judges and Sub-Divisional Magistrates in Taluka. 
It is the Advocate (A.S.) and the Advocate (O.S.) who alone 
practise in the District Courts and the High Court. Turning 
our attention to the way in which the profession functions in 
practice it cannot be said that there is anything very seriously 
wrong with the system for Legal Education. That the system 
is complex and asymmetrical is true but mere complexity and 
absence of symmetry can not be taken to constitute a problem 
especially when by the law of gravitation so to say each person 
settles down to the position and the class of work which is but 
commensurate with his training. 

Assuming that there is a problem, it is necessary to make 
certain distinctions to avoid confusion of the issue. The problem of 
overcrowding of the Legal Profession must be separated from the 
problems of legal education. It would be indefensible both from the 
stand-point of education and also from the stand-point of social 
justice to frame a scheme of Legal Education on a basis which 
would make legal profession the preserve of the few. The question 


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8 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

what sort of Legal Education should be given so as to produce 
an efficient lawyer is a purely educational question and must 
be settled by the Educationist without being influenced by what 
might ultimately happens if the number who took to law as a 
profession was so great that it exceeded the point of saturation. 
Another distinction which I think must be made is this : the 
question of Legal Education has no inherent connection with the 
question whether the Institutions charged with legal instruction 
should be whole-time or part-time. It is possible to conceive and 
to frame a system of legal education tolerably good and easily 
workable with a Law School or a Law College working part-time. 

With these preliminary observation, I address myself to the 
considerations of the problem of reform of legal education. There 
are four questions that emerge for consideration 

1. At what stage of his education student should be permitted 
to commence his study of Laws ? 

2. What should be the period for a complete course of legal 
education ? 

3. What subjects should be curriculum for a complete course 
of legal education include ? 

4. How should the Law College be organised so that the 
curriculum prescribed is dealt with in the most efficient 
manner ? 

Question No. 3 seems to me to be pivotal. On a correct 
answer to this question depends the solution of the remaining 
three questions. The best approach to the subject is furnished by 
the reports made from time to time by the Examiners appointed 
by the Bombay University at the LL.B. Examination containing 
the impressions formed by them of the work of candidates. The 
perusal of these reports will show that the examiners have along 
emphasised the following defects in the work of the examinees. 

1. The absence of any indication of a correct understanding 
of the fundamental principles underlying the laws which 
he is required to study. 

2. Absence of any grounding in general knowledge. 

3. Want of orderly presentment of the subject ? 

4. Absence of any sense of relevancy of the answer given to 
the question asked. 

5. Absence of any sense of precision in stating facts, arguments 
and opinions. 


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6. Inability to express in clear language what the student 
has in his mind. 

These are undoubtedly very serious defects in a student of 
Law and something must be done to remove them. How can 
these defects be removed ? We must first of all understand 
what these defects are due to. In my opinion these defects 
are due to two things, viz. a faulty curriculum and a faulty 
method of instruction. 

From the educationist’s point of view the study of Law 
requires a study of certain other auxiliary subjects without 
which the study of Law alone would be incomplete equipment 
for the practice of the Profession. What these auxiliary subjects 
should be will not be difficult to enumerate if we remember 
that a lawyer must have a legal mind. In the opinion of a 
keen observer whom Augustine Birrell quotes approvingly 
in his Obiter Dicta, a legal mind chiefly displays itself by 
illustrating the obvious, explaining the evident and explatiating 
on the common place. Disregarding for the moment, the quip 
conveyed in the observation, I think it contains an important 
bit of truth in so far as it suggests what the real business of 
a lawyer is. According to the observation, the business of a 
lawyer is to argue. So important a part does argument play in 
a lawyer’s business that I am prepared to say that argument 
is the summum bonum of a lawyer’s being. The essential 
requisites for the development of the argumentative ability are : 

a. A knowledge of the individual and how he functions in 
society. 

b. A knowledge of the working of the human mind. 

c. A mind trained to drawing logical inferences. 

In addition to those fundamental requirements of 
argumentative ability, there are other requisites, purely 
ornamental but none-the-less necessary, of grace of language 
and of orderly presentment. To put it in concrete terms, a 
lawyer’s training apart from the study of law must include the 
study of the following subjects: (1) Sociology, (2) Psychology, 
(3) Logic, (4) Rhetoric and the art of public speaking, and 
(5) Command over language. None of these subjects form a 
part of the present curriculum of the Law course. The first 
step, therefore, is to reform the curriculum and to see that 
these subjects are included in it. 


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10 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

If the curriculum is expanded in the way suggested, 
then it seems to me that the one and the only answer to 
the second question namely what should be the period for a 
complete course of legal education is that it cannot be a two 
years’ course as it is now. It must be more than two years. 
What exactly should the period be is a question on which 
there might be a difference of opinion. In my view, the period 
should be four years. I would divide this course of four years 
into two periods each of two years. At the end of the first two 
years, there is to be an examination to be held either by the 
University or by some other body appointed for the purpose, 
which examination to be called the First LL.B. Exmination. 
At the end of second two year’s period, there is to be another 
examination held by the same authority and to be called the 
second LL.B. examination. 

I will next deal with the question of dividing the curriculum 
between the first LL.B. and the Second LL.B. under my 
scheme. The course of the Lirst LL.B. should include the 
following subjects 

1. Sociology and Psychology. 2. Logic and Rhetoric. 
3. English. 4. Law of Contracts. 5. Legal Philosophy and Legal 
Maxims. 6. Constitutional Law. 7. Government of India Acts. 
8. Law of Crimes and Criminal Procedure. 

The Course for the second LL.B. will include the course 
of study now prescribed for the Lirst and the Second LL.B; 
minus Constitutional Law, the Government of India Acts, the 
Law of Crimes and Criminal Procedure and Contract which 
are under my scheme transferred to the Lirst LL.B. I would, 
however, like to add the following Acts to the curriculum of 
the second LL.B. 

(1) Provincial and Presidency Small Cause Court Acts, and 

(2) Bombay Civil Courts Act. 

I am not in favour of omitting the study of Civil and 
Criminal Procedures as is suggested in some quarters from 
the course of Collegiate studies especially as under my scheme 
there would be ample time for their study. 

Having given my views on the questions relating to the course 
of studies and the period of studies, I take the consideration of the 


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first question, namely, at what stage of his education, a student 
may be permitted to commence his study of law. I have no 
hesitation in saying that it should begin immediately after 
he passes his matriculation. I am driven to this conclusion by 
my inability to answer satisfactorily to myself the following 
two questions 

(1) Why should the study of law be regarded as a 
postgraduate study. 

(2) Does the undergraduate curriculum gone through by a 
boy in an Arts College gives him the training which is 
necessary as a preliminary for making him an efficient 
lawyer and the want of which has been a matter of 
constant complaint by the Examiners. 

With regard to the first question, it may be pointed out 
that in the Bombay University no Degree in any Scientific 
subject, such as Engineering, Medicine, Chemistry and Physics 
is treated as a postgraduate Degree requiring the passing 
of the B.A. as a condition precedent for being admitted to 
the Degree Course. Why Law alone should be treated as an 
exception, I can see no good ground for justification. Secondly, 
what the boy studies during his four years in an Arts College 
for obtaining B.A. Degree. Ex-Hypothesis has been found as 
of no material benefit to him in the study of Law. It is the 
consideration of the matter from this point of view which 
has forced me, as I have said, to come to the conclusion 
that Law should not be treated as a post-graduate study 
but should be treated as a graduate study commencing right 
after the matriculation. There is nothing so inherently or 
particularly good in the present-day graduate course of the 
Bombay University which can be said to add to the make-up 
of a good lawyer as to compel us to hold that it must be a 
necessary prerequisite for the commencement of the study of 
Law. I may mention in passing that the Barrister’s course is 
not a post-graduate course. 

There is a view that a student may be permitted to take to legal 
studies after the Intermediate. The suggestion is a good one in so far 
as it implies a return to the old system when law was not regarded 


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12 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

as a post-graduate study. Nonetheless in my view to adopt 
this suggestion would be a mistake and for two reasons. 
Experience has shown that a B. A. is not good enough. With 
this experience behind us, it seems to me somewhat odd to 
think that if we descend to the lower and inferior strata of 
the Intermediate, we could turn out a more finished product 
from the Law College than we do now when we draw our 
raw material from the higher and better strata of the 
B.A. If B.A. is not good enough, I cannot understand how 
it can possibly be maintained that the Intermediate would 
be better. Secondly, why leave the boy even though it be 
for two years in the hands of an Arts College which does 
not give him the preliminary training necessary for Law. 
If the boy is deficient in his preliminary training, why not 
take him in your own hands from the very commencement 
and give him the training? Why send him for two years to 
an Arts College which does not profess to give a course of 
instruction designed for the ultimate benefit of a lawyer ? 

I see three distinct advantages in my proposal of allowing 
a student to commence the study of law immediately after 
the Matriculation : 

1. The first advantage to which I attach the greatest 
value is this. At present, a student who joins the Law 
Course has not the fixed objective of studying law for 
the purpose of qualifying himself for the profession. 
He comes there merely for the purpose of adding one 
more string to his bow. It is his last refuge to which 
he may or may not go for shelter. Probably, he comes 
to the Law College because he is unemployed and 
does not know for the moment what to do. Due to this 
unsteadiness in purpose, there is no seriousness in the 
Law student and that is why his study of Law is so 
haphazard. It is, therefore, necessary to compel him to 
stick to it. A boy, who is a B.A., cannot have this fixity 
of purpose, because as a B.A. he has other opportunities 
in life open to him. My scheme has the advantage of 
compelling the boy to make his choice at the earliest 


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stage at which every one in this country is required to 
make a choice of his career. 

2. The second advantage of my proposal lies in its 
combination of economy and efficiency. A boy will be 
able to complete his legal education within 4 years. This 
is a saving of two years over the present system. The 
alternative suggestion also requires six years. From the 
standpoint of poorer students, it has no advantage over 
the present system. From the standpoint of training, 
I venture to say that the existing system as well as 
the alternative suggested by the Committee suffer in 
comparison with mine. The existing system allows 
only two year for the study which is undoubtedly 
very inadequate. The alternative scheme allots three 
years. But my scheme provides four full years. From 
the standpoint of efficiency, it is, therefore, superior to 
both. 

3. The third advantage is that it will introduce a process 
of selection. Those who have not the definite object of 
entering the profession will be weeded out. Only those 
with the definite object will join. It will, thus, held to 
prevent the overcrowding of the profession. 

There is only one objection which may be urged against it by 
some with whom I have discussed it. It is that a Matriculation 
student will not be able to follow lectures in law. My reply 
to this is twofold. My friend, Mr. S. C. Joshi, M. A., LL.B., 
Advocate of the Bombay High Court, assures me that there 
is no substance in the objection. He is conducting the classes 
for the Bar Council’s Examination for the last several years 
with great credit as the results show. He has had first-hand 
experience of teaching Law to Matriculates and I attach much 
importance to his opinion in this connection. My second reply 
is that under my scheme, the course for the LL.B. is of two 
years and the study of Law need not commence from the first 
year. It may commence in the second. 

Coming to the last question of the reorganisation of the Law 
Colleges, this question was considered by a Committee appointed 
in 1898 as also by another Committee appointed in the year 1915 


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14 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

known as Chandavarkar Committee and the proposal was 
rejected. I confess, I have a prejudice against the proposal of 
making the Law College whole -time. It is a fact that many 
of the students who are studying law at present are working 
during the day to earn their living. Indeed, Legal Education 
would not be possible to many a student and if he was not 
in a position to earn his living while he is studying. And if 
the total course of study were to extend over a period of six 
years as it happens today, I would still oppose the proposal of 
a full-time College. No educationist would be justified, in my 
opinion, in devising his scheme of education in such a manner 
as to impose upon the parent the burden of maintaining a 
student for six years assuming that there are no failures. But 
in view of the fact that my scheme requires only four years 
for the completion of the course and also in view of the fact 
that the boy is to be taken in hand in a somewhat immature 
state, I have brought myself as a matter of sheer necessity 
to favour the proposal of full-time College. 

With regard to the staff of the College, I would organise it in 
two Divisions— the Tutors and the Professors. I am anxious that 
the actual teaching of Law should be done by persons drawn 
from the practising members of the Profession. In the absence 
of any touch with the practising members of the profession, a 
student in the Law College is likely to get into the academic 
groove so to say. He must be given a bias in favour of the 
practical. Only contact with the practising members can give a 
practical bias to his training. The professors, therefore, should 
not be required to be permanent members of the staff. Only 
the Principal and the Tutors should be permanent members 
of the staff. The work of the Tutors should be to give tuition 
to the boys and to coach them up, while the Professors and 
the Principal will do the lecturing. 

The object of dividing the staff into two classes is primarily 
to remove the defects in the method of instruction. The 
faults in the method of instruction now in vogue will be 
obvious to any one who has any experience of teaching in 
Law College. Under the present system, the share which 
the student takes in his own legal Education consists merely 
in taking notes of lectures delivered by the Professors. 
This system at the most acquaints the students with the 


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THOUGHTS ON BOMBAY PRESIDENCY 15 

provisions of the different Acts. But it is doubtful whether the 
system of mere lecturing affords a sufficient training of the 
student’s mind so as to enable him to apply legal principles to 
the complicated series of facts which arise in practice. There 
is also nothing in the system which can compel the student 
to follow up the lectures by reading the text-books prescribed 
with the result that student reads nothing till a few days 
before the date of the examination, when in order to work out 
the huge arrears he resorts to the notes and the cram books. 

There are different views as to the proper method of 
giving instruction in Law. Some prefer the case method; 
others prefer the text-book method, supplemented by lectures. 
No one can dogmatise as to which of the two is the correct 
method. Methods of instruction must, of course, be left 
generally to the discretion of the individual members of the 
Teaching Staff. But, I believe that some positive direction is 
necessary to the teaching staff to being to its notice the fact 
that the present system is faulty and that it is necessary to 
introduce some change in the method, which will demand a 
larger share of intellectual effort from the student and which 
will, while instructing him, also train him. I am of opinion 
that instead of mere lecture there should be a combination of 
lecturing work and tutorial work; unless the tutorial method 
is used to supplement the method of lecturing, there is not 
much hope of the new college producing a new and a better 
class of lawyers. 

The reform in the system of legal Education should in my 
view be accompanied by reforms in three other directions 

(1) All the different Examination in Law should be abolished 
and should be replaced by one Examination common to 
all practitioners and the distinction between Advocate 
(A.S.) and Advocate (O.S.) in so far as it is founded in 
difference in Examination should be done away with. If 
the distinction is to be retained, it should be founded 
on the choice of the practitioner who should be called 
upon to make his decision at the time he applies for 
the Sanad whether he would practise as an Advocate 
(A.S.) or as an Advocate (O.S.) or as a Solicitor. 


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16 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

(2) There must be one common Examining Body. As a 
part of this scheme of re-organisation, I think a 
Council of Legal Education for supervising Legal 
Education and also for conducting Examination in 
Law should be established. The body should consist 
of the following 

(i) Representatives of the University. 

(ii) Representatives of the Judges of the High Court. 

(iii) Representatives of the Bar. 

(iv) Representatives of the Professors of Law 
Colleges. 

(v) Representatives of the Public. 

I am not prepared to hand over the function of the 
Examination to the Bar Council. There is a danger of the 
Council developing the Trade Union mentality. It would 
be fatal to the whole system of the Legal Education if 
such a mentality became an operative force in the conduct 
of Examination. Already the system of Examination has 
resulted in killing all interest in the study of Law. Care 
should be taken to see that there is no aggrevation of this 
unfortunate result. 

(3) The granting of the Sanad should not merely depend 
on the mere passing of the Examination. It should 
be made dependent upon the passing on three 
conditions. 

(a) The holding of a Degree in Law. 

(b) Reading in Chambers of a senior for one year 
and passing of an Examination in the Law of 
Pleading and the Ethics of the Profession. And 
in addition 

(c) (i) in the case of a person who wishes to take the 
Sanad of an Advocate (O.S.) the passing of an 
Examination in High Court Rules (Original Side). 


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THOUGHTS ON BOMBAY PRESIDENCY 17 

(ii) in the case of a person who wishes to take 
the Sanad of an Advocate (A.S.) the passing of 
an Examination in the Appellate Side Rules of 
the High Court. 

(iii) in the case of a person who wishes to take 
the Sanad of a Solicitor the passing of an 
Examination in (a) High Court Rules (Original 
and Appellate Side) and (b) Conveyancing. 

(d) Production of a certificate of good moral character. 

There is no justification left for the existence, diversities 
and anomalies when the system of education is made 
common to all and is extensive enough for any class of 
practitioners. 

With respect to the question of practical training in the 
Chambers of a Senior Lawyer it is necessary to mention 
the following points which arise for consideration : 

(1) Are there facilities for training? 

(2) What would happen if no senior lawyer was prepared 
to admit a law student in his Chambers for training 
or those that were prepared demanded exorbitant 
fees ? 

All these points must be settled if the test of training 
is to be practicable. With regard to point No.l, I cannot 
be absolutely certain. But, I think it is possible to find 
a sufficient number of Seniors in Bombay and in the 
District Towns to provide facilities for practical training. 
On the second point I am sure that unless the High 
Court was prepared to compel a Senior to admit student 
to his Chamber for training the system would fail. The 
habit of not showing the tricks of the trade to one who 
may be possible rival and the fear that the student 
while under training will get into touch with the clients 
and will run away with some of them is so ingrained 
in the mind of the Seniors that I am sure, they will 
never consent to take student in their Chambers unless 
they are compelled to. In relation to third point I think 


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18 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

the High Court should lay down the fees for training in 
Chambers. Otherwise, the fees are likely to be prohibitive 
which would have the result of making the legal profession 
the preserve of the rich . 1 

• • 


1 Govt. Law College magazine : Vol. VII; No. 1 ; January, 1936. 


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3 

DR. AMBEDKAR’S REPLY TO 
SIR S. RADHAKRISHNAN 

The Survival Theory 

“ Professor Radhakrishnan once said that there was one 
argument to prove the greatness of Hindus and that was : it 
had survived the shakes of time, it still existed whereas other 
ancient cults and creeds had been dead long ago. 

In reply to this argument Dr. Ambedkar says: — 

“I fear that this statement may become the basis of a 
vicious argument that the part of survival is a proof of fitness 
to survive. It seems to me that the question is, not whether a 
community lives or dies ; the question is, on what plane does 
it live. There are different modes of survival. But all are not 
equally honourable. For an individual as well as for a society 
there is a gulf between merely living and living worthily. To 
fight in a battle and to live in glory is one mode. To treat a 
retreat, to surrender and live the life of a capture is also a 
mode of survival. It is useless for the Hindus to take comfort 
in the fact that he and his people have survived. What he 
must consider is what is the quality of that survival. If he does 
that, I am sure he will cease to take pride in the mere fact 
of survival. The Hindus have been living a life of continuous 
defeat and what appears to them to be life everlasting is not 
living everlastingly. It is a mode of survival of which every 
right-minded Hindu, who is not afraid to own up the truth 
will feel ashamed.” 1 


• • 


1 Published in ‘The Lamp’ dated 25th June 1936; quoted in : Khairmode. 
Vol. 6. P. 266. 


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4 

AND THE LORD SAID UNTO— 

Reports of Cases Argued and Determined Before 
The Lords Of the Privy Council, 1829-31 

By Jerome Wm. Knapp, Barrister-At-Law, Vol. I. 

[A note Contributed by Dr. B. R. Ambedkar ] 

The case In re justices of the Supreme Court of Judicature, 
which is reprinted below was decided on the 14th of May 
1829. It would, however, be a mistake to suppose that the 
case is of antiquarian interest merely because it is 107 years 
old. The case is not only of interest to students of History but 
it is also of interest to students of Law and to the general 
public as well. Students of History know the jealousy and 
the hatred that subsisted between the Officers of the East 
India Company and the Officers of the crown during the 
period of Double Government that preceded the Mutiny. The 
reader of the Memoirs of Sir Edward West will recall how a 
Governor appointed by the East India Company contrived to 
have a duel with a Judge of the Supreme Court appointed 
by the King. To the student of History the case is of interest 
because it illustrates the length to which this jealousy and 
hatred between the officers of the Company and the officers of 
the King had gone in those old days. To the student of Law 
the case though old is of great and present-day importance. 
The issue raised in the case was whether the Supreme Court 
established in Bombay had a right to issue a Writ of Habeas 
Corpus against a person not residing within its original local 
Jurisdiction. That the decision had relation to the powers 
of the Supreme Court which has ceased to exist does not 
lessen the importance of the case to the student of present 
day Law because although the Supreme Court has ceased 
to exist the power of the present High Court to issue the 
writ of Habeas Corpus, outside its original local Jurisdiction 
is a question which can be answered only by reference to 
the powers which once belonged to the Supreme Court. 
This is so because according to the Letters Patent the High 


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AND THE LORD SAID UNTO— 21 

Court has only such powers as once belonged to the 
Supreme Court. To know the powers of High Court 
one must know the powers of the Supreme Court. 
Sir John Grant, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court 
was driven to make the application to the Privy Council 
which became the subject matter of the decision because 
the Government of Bombay refused to execute his writs. 
Although the general question— whether the law should 
provide that the Executive shall be bound to carry out 
the orders of the Judiciary was not a question directly 
in issue yet there could hardly be a question of greater 
importance from the standpoint of the general public. In 
any Political Constitution the Judiciary is the weakest 
organ as compared to the Legislature and the Executive. It 
depends upon the Legislature for the powers it possesses 
and upon the Executive for the carrying out of its orders. 
The Executive generally respects the orders of the 
Judiciary and carries them out. It is true that in the case 
reported, the Judiciary had no authority to issue a Writ 
and, therefore, the Executive was justified in refusing to 
carry it out. But an occasion may arise where an Executive 
out of spite or out of contumacy refuses to execute the 
Writ of the Judiciary. Should that happen Justice will 
remain hung up in the air and a grave public question 
might arise involving menace to the life, liberty and 
property of the citizen. These observations are suggested 
by reason of the contrast which one finds between the 
provisions in the New Government of India Act, of 1935 
relating to the obligation of the Executive to carry out 
the Writs of the Federal Court or the High Court and 
analogous provisions in the Constitution of the United 
States and the erstwhile German Republic which served 
as an interlude between the fall of the Kaiser and the 
rise of Hitler. It would certainly be a profitable study to 
pursue this matter and the curious will naturally do so. 


(See overleaf the Judgment referred above) 


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22 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

By Petition from Bombay 

In Re The Justices Of The Supreme Court Of Judicature 

(14th May, 1829) 

The Supreme Court of Bombay has no power to issue 
a writ of habeas corpus except when directed to a 
person resident within those local limits wherein it 
has a general jurisdiction, or to a person out of those 
limits who is personally subject to its jurisdiction [1 
Knapp, 58]. 

The Supreme Court has no power to issue a writ of habeas 
corpus to the gaoler or officer of the native court such 
officer having no power to discharge persons imprisoned 
under the authority of a native court [1 Knapp, 58]. 

The Supreme Court is bound to notice the jurisdiction of 
a native court without having it set forth specially in 
the return to a writ of habeas corpus [1 Knapp, 59]. 

This case arose on the petition of Sir John Peter Grant, 
Knight, only surviving justice of the Supreme Court of 
Judicature at Bombay. It stated that by letters patent of the 
8th of December*, in the fourth year of the present reign, his 
Majesty was pleased to grant, direct, ordain and appoint, that 
there should be within the settlement of Bombay a Court of 
Record, which should be called the Supreme Court of Judicature 
at Bombay; and did thereby create, direct and constitute the 
said Supreme Court of Judicature at Bombay to be a Court of 
Record, and that the same should consist of, and be holden by 
and before, one principal Judge, who should be and be called the 
Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Judicature at Bombay, 
and two other judges, who should be and be called the puisne 
Justices of the Supreme Court of Judicature at Bombay. 

And that the said Chief Justice and the said puisne Justices 
should severally and respectively be, and they were all and every 
of them thereby appointed to be, Justices, and conservators of 
the peace, and coroners, within and throughout the settlement 
of Bombay, and the town and island of Bombay, and the limits 
thereof, and the factories subordinate thereto, and all the territories 

[* 1823. The text of the charter is given in Morley’s Dig. Vol. II., P. 638. The 
constitution and powers of the High Court of Bombay are now defined by 
letters patent of Dec. 28, 1866 (State. R. and 0. Rev. Vol. IV., P, 108), issued 
in pursuance of the Indian High Courts Act, 1861 (21 and 25 Viet. 104)] 


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AND THE LORD SAID UNTO— 23 

which then where, or thereafter might be, subject to or 
dependent upon the Government of Bombay aforesaid, and to 
have such jurisdiction and authority as his Majesty’s justices 
of his Majesty’s Court of King’s Bench had and might lawfully 
exercise within that part of Great Britain called England, as 
far as circumstances would admit. 

And that the said Supreme Court of Judicature at Bombay 
should have and use, as occasion might require, a seal bearing 
a device or impression of his Majesty’s royal arms; and that 
all writes, summonses, precepts, rules, orders, and other 
mandatory process to be used, issued or awarded by the said 
Supreme Court of Judicature at Bombay, should run and be 
in the name and style of his Majesty, and be sealed with the 
seal of the said Supreme Court. 

And that the King by the said letters patent constituted 
and appointed Sir Edward West, Knight, then recorder of 
Bombay, to be the first Chief Justice, and Sir Ralph Rice, 
Knight, then recorder of Prince of Wales’s Island, and Sir 
Charles Harcourt Chambers, Knight, to be the first puisne 
Justices of the said Supreme Court of Judicature at Bombay. 

And the King did further direct, ordain and appoint a 
certain jurisdiction to apperatin to the said Supreme Court 
of Judicature, for the hearing and determining of suits and 
actions arising in the territories subject to or depending upon 
the said Government, subject to certain provisos, exemptions, 
and declarations in the said letters patent mentioned, and 
did appoint a certain form of proceeding for the commencing, 
prosecuting, hearing and determining such civil suits and 
actions, and for the awarding and issuing of execution on the 
judgements pronounced therein. 

And that the King was also pleased to grant, ordain and 
appoint, that the said Supreme Court should be a court of 
equity, and have equitable jurisdiction over the persons in the 
said letters patent described, and should be a court of oyer and 
terminer, and gaol delivery in and for the town and island of 
Bombay, and the limits thereof, and the factories subordinate 
thereto, and also a court of ecclesiastical jurisdiction 
within and throughout the town and island of Bombay 
and the limits thereof; and further, that the said Supreme 
Court should be a Court of Admiralty in and for the said 


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24 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

town and island of Bombay and the limits thereof, and the 
factories subordinate thereto, and all the territories which 
then were or thereafter might be, subject to or dependent 
upon the said Government. 

And that the said Sir R. Rice, Knight, resigned the 
off ice of senior puisne Justice of the said Supreme Court 
of Judicature at Bombay, in November 1827, when the said 
Sir C. H. Chambers became senior puisne Justice thereof; and 
the said Sir R. Rice having resigned his office, the petitioner 
was by letters patent of the 30th of August 1827, appointed 
one of the puisne Justices of the said Supreme Court in his 
room; and that he took his seat as such at Bombay, on the 
9th day of February 1828. 

And that the said Chief Justice Sir Edward West departed 
his life on the 18th of August 1828; and that on the 3rd day 
of October in that year a letter was addressed : 

“ To Sir C. H. Chambers, and the petitioner, as puisne 
Justices of the Supreme Court of Judicature, dated 
Bombay Castle, 3rd October 1828, and signed, by 
John Malcolm, the Governor; T. Bradford, Lieutenant- 
General, Commander of the Forces; J. J. Sparrow, and 
John Romer, the Second and Third Members of the 
Council.” 

Which letter was of the following tenor : 

Honourable Sirs : 

“We are quite aware that we transgress upon ordinary forms 
in addressing this letter to you; but the circumstances under 
which we are placed will, we trust, justify this departure from 
usage, and our knowledge of your private and public characters 
leads us to hope, that what we state will be received in that 
spirit, in which it is written; and that, notwithstanding your 
strict obligations to fulfil every part of your high and sacred 
duty as British Judges, you will, on this extraordinary occasion, 
deem yourselves at liberty to consider as much the objects, as 
the rules of the Court over which you preside; and viewing 
the intention of the Legislature in its institution, as directed 
to the aid and support of the Government instructed with 
the administration of this Presidency, you will, for a short 
period, be induced by our representations to abstain from 


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AND THE LORD SAID UNTO— 25 

any acts (however legal you may deem them) which, under the 
measures, we have felt ourselves compelled to take and which 
we deem essential to the interests committed to our charge, 
must have the effect of producing open collision between our 
authority and yours, and by doing so, not only diminish that 
respect in the native population of this country which it is 
so essential to both to maintain, but seriously to weaken, by 
a supposed division in our internal rule, those impressions 
on the minds of our native subjects, the existence of which 
is indispensable to the peace, prosperity and permanence 
of the Indian empire. This conclusion refers to a variety of 
circumstances which we are equally forbid from explaining 
as you are from attending to such explanation; but we deem 
it necessary to state our conviction of the truth of what we 
have asserted, expecting that it may have some weight with 
you as connected with the preservation of that strength in 
the Government, which in all our territories, and particularly 
those we have so recently acquired, is the chief, if not the 
only power we posses for maintaining that general peace, 
on the continuance of which the means of good rule, and of 
administering law under any form must always depend. 

“2. In consequence of recent proceedings in the Supreme 
Court, in the cases of Moro Ragonath [1 Knapp, 8] and 
Bappoo Gunness [1 Knapp, 11], we have felt compelled, for 
reasons which we have fully stated to our superiors, to direct 
that no further legal proceedings be admitted in the case of 
Moro Ragonath; and that no returns be made to any writs 
of habeas corpus of a similar nature to those recently issued 
and directed to any officers of the provincial courts, or to any 
of our native subjects not residing in the island of Bombay. 

“3. We are quite sensible of the deep responsibility we 
incur by these measures, but must look for our justification 
in the necessity of our situation. The grounds upon which 
we act have exclusive reference to considerations of civil 
Government and of State policy; but as our resolution 
cannot be altered until we receive the commands of those 
high authorities to which we are subject, we inform 
you of them; and we do most anxiously hope, that the 
considerations we have before stated may lend you to limit 


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26 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

yourselves to those protests and appeals against our conduct in 
the cases specified, that you may deem it your duty to make, as 
any other conduct must, for reasons already stated, prove deeply 
injurious to the public interests, and can, under the resolution 
taken and avowed by Government, produce no result favourable 
either to the immediate or future establishment of the extended 
jurisdiction you have claimed. A very short period will elapse 
before an answer is received to the full and urgent reference we 
have made upon this subject; and we must again express our 
hope, that even the obligations under which we are sensible to 
act, are not so imperative as to impel you to proceedings which 
the Government has thus explicitly stated its resolution to oppose. 

“We have the honour to be, etc. etc.” 

The petition then stated, that on Monday the 6th October 
instant, the Supreme Court being assembled for the despatch 
of its judicial business, Sir C. H. Chambers caused this letter 
to be read to the court by the clerk of the Crown; after which 
the petitioner concurring with Sir C. H. Chambers in opinion 
regarding both the form and the substance of the communication, 
the court directed that the clerk of the Crown should inform the 
Chief Secretary to the Government of the Presidency, by letter, 
that the said letter had been received, and that the Judges could 
take no notice thereof. 

That it was the intention of the said Sir C. H. Chambers 
and the petitioner to have laid before his Majesty, in an humble 
petition, the circumstances which were therein above set forth, and 
most dutifully and submissively have to be sought his Majesty’s 
royal protection against what they agreed in considering a most 
unconstitutional and criminal attempt, on the part of those armed 
with the whole power, civil and military, of the Presidency, to 
approach the Supreme Court of Judicature within the same, not 
by their humble petition, or by motion, by themselves or their 
counsel, in open court, the only way in which the law, for the 
wisest purposes, permitted his Majesty’s Judges to be addressed, 
but by means of such covert and private communication, as was 
strictly forbiden by the forms reared by the wisdom of ages, for 
the intrenching their persons against the danger and even the 
pollution of undue solicitation or menace, and this for the declared 
purpose of inducing the Judges, notwithstanding their most sacred 


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AND THE LORD SAID UNTO— 27 

obligations to God, to the King, and to themselves, to refuse 
to administer justice according to what they should deem to 
be law, in compliance with such notions as those who had 
thus approached them might from time to time entertain of 
what they should call State policy. 

That, while a petition to the above effect was preparing to 
be transmitted to England, Sir Charles Harcourt Chambers, 
then acting as Chief Justice of the said Supreme Court, 
suddenly died on the 13th of October 1828. 

The petition then proceeded at considerable length to 
explain the motives that influenced the petitioner and his 
colleague during these proceedings to impugn the conduct 
of the Governor and Council, and to show the benefit of the 
Supreme Court having the power to issue the writ of habeas 
corpus in the manner they claimed. It ultimately prayed, that 
it might therefore please His Majesty to take the premises 
into his Royal and most gracious consideration, and to give 
such commands concerning the same as to His Majesty’s 
Royal wisdom should seem meet, for the due vindication and 
protection of the dignity and lawful authority of His Majesty’s 
Supreme Court of Judicature at Bombay. 

The case of Moro Ragonath [1 Knapp, 5] which is allued 
to in the petition may be thus briefly stated; on the 25th of 
August 1828, writ of habeas corpus ad subjiciendum, directed 
to Pandoorung Ramchander for the production of the body of 
Moro Ragonath, his ward, was moved for before Mr. Justice 
Grant, the petitioner, at his chambers, on the affidavit 
of Dinkar Gopal Dew, which stated that Moro Ragonath 
had been confined for nearly a year, and was still kept in 
confinement by Pandoorung Ramchander against his will, 
and under circumstances attended with great hardship and 
cruelty. This motion was opposed by the Advocate General, 
on the ground that Pandoorung Ramchander and Moro 
Ragonath were natives, residing at Poona, and not amenable 
to the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court. The granting of 
the writ was postponed for various reasons until the 30th 
of August, during which time additional affidavits were put 
in, and in these it was stated that Moro Ragonath having 
made his escape from Pandoorung Ramchander on the 12th 
of July, was retaken and sent back again to his custody by 
persons acting under the order and by the directions of John 


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28 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

Andrew Dunlop, esq., a British-born subject, and a Provincial 
Magistrate at Poona. After considerable discussion, the writ 
was ordered to issue, and was made returnable to the Court 
on the 15th of September then next, it was translated by order 
of the Court into the Mahratta language, and duly served on 
Pandoorung Ramchander. A return was made and filed to 
this writ in these terms 

“I, Pandoorung Ramchander Dumdurre, am the relation 
and friend of the Peishwah. I never in my life have been the 
servant of the English Government, or of the English. At the 
time the Company’s Government took this country, they gave 
me word I should live without fear or molestation. Depending 
upon that, I remained in Poona; and as for my grandson, 
Moro Ragonath, I am his grandfather; he was placed under 
my care, that I might take care of him according to the 
usual custom. He, the said boy, is fourteen years old; for that 
reason, according to the Shaster of the Hindoos, he is without 
knowledge; he is bound to behave agreeably to the orders of the 
person under whose charge he lives; and further, it is necessary 
to take care of the property and wealth of the boy; more than 
this, there is nothing, and there is nothing more done (by me 
to him,) than by those to whose care a boy is delivered, or 
the usual orders of seniority in a Hindu’s family. Should I by 
any chance do more or less, the same being made known to 
the Adawlut at Poona, it would be immediately stopped. After 
Moro Ragonath’s grandmother died, he was delivered into 
my charge, according to the rule, and I agreed to undertake 
that charge, in order that my grandson’s wealth might not be 
ruined. Without the leave of those by whose authority I took 
the charge upon my head, I cannot relinquish it. Dated 10th 
of September 1828, 1st of Bhadrapad Sood Shalabar 1750, 
the name of the year being Surodharee.” 

This return was objected to on two grounds; firstly, that 
there was no return, “paratum habeo corpus secondly, that 
no reason was stated to excuse the disobedience, but that the 
writ ought not to have issued, which was a reason the Court 
ought not to receive; and an attachment against Pandoorung 
Ramchander was moved for. The Judges took time to deliberate 
on the question, and on the 29th of September they delivered 
their judgement, that a writ of alias habeas corpus should 
issue, returnable on the 10th of October then next. 


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AND THE LORD SAID UNTO— 29 

The case of Bappoo Gunness [1 Knapp 6] came before the 
Supreme Court on an application for a writ of habeas corpus 
ad subjiciendum, to the head gaoler of the gaol at Tannah, 
directing him to produce the body of Bappoo Gunness, then a 
prisoner in his custody. The writ was granted on the affidavit 
of one Babool Ranjee, stating that he had applied to the 
gaoler for a copy of the warrant under which Bappoo Gunness 
was confined, and that it had been refused to him. The writ 
issued on the 10th, and was made returnable on the 19th of 
September 1828. A return to it was made by the nazir of the 
court of Adawlut of the northern Konkan, and the gaoler to 
whom the writ was directed in these terms:— “That before 
the coming in of the writ, Bappoo Gunness was taken and 
detained in our custody by virtue of a certain order in writing 
of the Adawlut Court of the zillah of the northern Konkan, 
in the Mahratta language, and in the following form:” which 
was set out, and stated in effect that Bappoo Gunness having 
been found guilty of embezzlement, was sentenced to two 
years imprisonment, and a fine of 350 rupees, or in default 
of payment of that sum to a year’s additional imprisonment. 
The body of the prisoner not having been produced on the 
19th, the Judges would not suffer the return to be read, and 
directed an attachment to issue against the gaoler. On the 
26th the attachment was set aside on payment of the costs, 
at the instance of the Advocate-General, and Bappoo Gunness 
having been brought into Court, the return was read, and held 
insufficient, because the authority of the Adawlut Court was 
not stated in it; four days time was allowed to amend it, the 
prisoner being in the mean while committed to the gaol at 
Bombay. The return was not amended within that time, the 
Advocate-General stating to the Court that the reason why it 
had not been amended, was because Government would not 
suffer the authority of the Provincial Courts to be questioned; 
and Bappoo Gunness was discharged from custody. 

Denman, (Common Serjeant,) and Alderson, for the 
Petitioner,— It is perfectly clear that the Supreme Court of 
Judicature possesses the power of issuing a writ of habeas 
corpus directed to all the King’s subjects, of whatever 
description, resident within the territories of Bombay, in order 
to set free the body of any of the King’s subjects detained by 
them. 


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30 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

The Supreme Court of Bombay derives its several powers 
from the charter by which it was constituted, in pursuance 
of the Act of the fourth of the present King [Dec. 8, 1823. 
See Morley’s Dig. Vol. II. p. 638]. The original necessity of 
granting those powers to the Courts of Law in our East Indian 
possessions arose out of the complaints of oppression, and 
the disputes of persons in authority there, which at different 
times during the last reign were brought before the Company 
and Parliament in this country. 

One of the resolutions adopted on this important subject 
at a meeting of the Court of Proprietors, on the 10th of May 
1773, was, “that an application should be made for a new 
charter of justice, to enable the Company to add to each of the 
Mayors Courts at the three Presidencies, and to the Courts of 
the Governors and Councils as Courts of Oyer and Terminer, 
a barrister to act as recorder, to extend the powers of the 
Mayors Courts.” The additional words of the resolutions are 
most remarkable on the present occasion : “and particularly 
to introduce the privilege of the habeas corpus into India.” It 
is remarkable, too, that in a petition presented to the House 
of Lords in the same year, the East India Company stated, 
“that the most effectual provision of all others to prevent 
oppression which was recommended by the Company viz. that 
of the habeas corpus, whereby men might know of what crime 
they were accused, and by whom imprisoned, was omitted.” 

The Supreme Court of Judicature at Calcutta was opened 
on the 22nd of October 1774, from which period, for a long 
course of years, writs of habeas corpus were regularly issued; 
most of them apparently to native subjects, and not to those 
who by way of distinction are called British subjects residing in 
those territories. On the 16th of January in the year following 
a motion was made for a habeas corpus to the keeper of a 
place called the prison of the Dewanee Cutcherree, to bring 
up a person confined there, and the writ was ordered to issue. 
It should be observed, that by the 13th Geo. III. c. 63 [The 
Regulating Act, 1773], the King’s Court had no more jurisdiction 
in Calcutta over natives or others, except as a Court of Oyer 
and Terminer and Gaol Delivery, than in any other part of 
the dominions of the Crown of England within the Presidency, 
and that the Zemindary Courts of the Company continued to 
exercise a jurisdiction over natives in Calcutta, just as the 


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AND THE LORD SAID UNTO— 31 

Zemindary Courts do at the present time. Those Courts are 
exclusive, as to the complaints, suits and actions against 
natives not in the employment or service of the Company, or 
of a British subject, and not brought before the Court of Oyer 
and Terminer and Gaol Delivery. On the 17th of January a 
return was made to a habeas corpus which had been granted 
to a person of the name of Golum Hider, to produce Sum ju, 
a female infant of eleven years of age, stating that the child 
was voluntarily under his care, and not underrestraint. On 
the 19th of January of the same year a writ was issued to 
Jona Mullick, keeper of the prison of the Dewanee Adawlut in 
Calcutta, to bring up the body of Banchuram Roy. That writ 
was objected to by counsel on Saturday the 21st of January, 
inasmuch as it issued on the statute of Cha. II., and was not 
marked per statum. It was answered by the Chief Justice that 
the writ might be considered as at common law. A motion then 
was made for quashing the writ, because the common law of 
England did not extend to India, or at least to no other than 
British subject: but this motion was rejected by the court; for 
on January the 31st a return was made to the writ, and the 
doctrine was by consequence denied. But when, on the 2nd of 
March in the same year, the return was read again, stating 
the imprisonment to be in a civil suit for debt, by order of the 
Court of Dewanee Adawlut, the Supreme Court at Calcutta 
proceeded to inquire whether that court, which undoubtedly 
possessed a competent jurisdiction in many cases, possessed 
in it that which was then under discusson. The plaintiff was 
a British subject, and the defendant his gomastah or steward, 
and therefore in the employment of a British subject; both 
parties were amenable to the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court, 
and neither of them within that of the Dewanee Adawlut. The 
keeper of the prison being in court to make his return, the 
prisoner was discharged. The Supreme Court thus exercised 
its authority in determining that the return did not bring the 
prisoner within the jurisdiction of the inferior court. 

Again, on the 28th of March 1775, a return was made by Jona 
Mullick, keeper of the gaol of Fousdary Adawlut, to habeas corpus, 
to bring up the body of one Seremani there confined. On the 23rd 
of December in the same year a writ of habeas corpus, directed to 
Warren Hastings, esquire, the Governor-General, to bring up the 
body of Joseph Pavessi, was returned in court, the return being 


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32 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

made by the Governor-General himself, without the slightest 
intimation of objection, and the said Pavessi was discharged, 
the Governor-General having declined to state as true, in an 
amended return, a necessary fact which he had only on report. 
Pavessi had been taken up in order to be sent out of India 
contrary to law, he being not a British subject.* It appears, 
therefore, that at that early period the reform of the Indian 
Governments, and the superintendence of the English law over 
the settlement, were considered synonymous; and one great 
object contemplated by the Company itself, was the introduction 
of the writ of habeas corpus, authorizing any man deprived 
of his personal freedom to compel the party who imprisoned 
him to show that he did so by authority of law. 

At Calcutta, various instances of the same kind might be 
cited, and others have occured at Madras. The importance of 
the writ of habeas corpus has been strongly and justly felt. 
Whatever Act was passed, and whatever charter was granted, 
subject to whatever limitation of powers, there was no exception 
to that writ, and no limitation of its sphere in any of those 
statutes or charters. 

But the writ of habeas corpus was expressly given to the 
Supreme Court of Calcutta by the letters-patent of the 13th 
Geo. III. **,they conferred upon that court “such jurisdiction and 
authority as our Justices of the Court of King’s Bench have and 
may lawfully exercise within that part of Great Britain called 
England, as far as circumstances will admit.” The writs of habeas 
corpus issued under that power do not appear to have been 
questioned in any manner which could raise a doubt as to their 
authority. The erection of the Supreme Court of Bombay has 
reference to the powers given to the Supreme Court of Calcutta. 
The 4th Geo. IV.(c. 71), indeed gives His Majesty the power by 

*This and the preceding cases appear to have been quoted from a pamphlet 
published in October 1828, at Bombay, and entitled “Proceedings of the 
Governor and Council at Bombay towards His Majesty’s Supreme Court 
of Judicature.” They are there stated to have been extracted from MS., 
notes made by one of the Judges appointed at the first establishment 
of the Supreme Court at Calcutta. 

**[ The text of the charter is given in Morley’s Dig. Vol. II., p. 549. The 
constitution and powers of the High Court of Calcutta are now defined 
by letters patent of Dec. 28,1865 (Stat. R. and O. Rev. Vol. (iv,) p. 82), 
issued in pursuance of the Indian High Courts Act, 1861 (24 and 25 
Viet. C. 104) ] 


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AND THE LORD SAID UNTO— 33 

charter or letters patent, “to erect and establish a Supreme 
Court of Judicature at Bombay, with full power to exercise such 
civil, criminal, admiralty, and ecclesiastical jurisdiction, both as 
to natives and British subjects, and to be invested with such 
powers and authorities, privileges and immunities, for the better 
administration of the same, and subject to the same limitations, 
restrictions, and control, in the said town and island of Bombay 
and the limits thereof, and the territories subordinate thereto, 
and within the territories which then were or thereafter might 
be subject to or dependent upon the Government of Bombay, as 
the Supreme Court of Judicature at Fort Williams in Bengal, by 
virtue of any law then in force and unrepealed, did consist of, 
was invested with, or subject to, within the said Fort Williams, or 
the places subject to or dependent upon the Government thereof; 
provided always, that the Governor and Council at Bombay, and 
the Governor-General at Fort Williams aforesaid, should enjoy the 
same exemption, and no other, from the authority of the Supreme 
Court of Judicature to be there erected, as were enjoyed by the 
said Governor-General and Council at Fort Williams aforesaid 
for the time being, from the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court of 
Judicature there.” That is the only proviso for the exemption of 
the Governor and Council of Bombay; but the Governor-General 
and Council of Fort Williams are not only exempted from the 
jurisdiction of the Court, *but have by the 21st Geo. Ill, the power 
of exempting others also from its jurisdiction by their order in 
writing; which approaches very nearly to the latter in question. 

In pursuance of this Act of 4th Geo. IV. [c. 71] His Majesty 
erected the Supreme Court of Judicature at Bombay, by his Letters 
Patent [Morley’s Dig. Vol. II. p. 638]. By these letters he gave to it 
various powers and authorities which are exercised by his ordinary 

*21st Geo. 3, c. 70, s 2. “If any person or persons be impleaded in any action 
or process, civil or criminal, in the said Supreme Court, for any act or acts 
done by order of the said Governor- General and Council, in writing, he or 
they may plead the general issue, and give such order in evidence; which 
said order, with proof that the act or acts done have or has been done 
according to the purport of the same, shall amount to a sufficient justification 
of the said acts, and the defendant shall be fully justified, acquitted and 
discharged from all and every suit, action and process whatsoever, civil or 
criminal in the said Court”. 

By section the third of the same Act it is provided, that with respect to such 
order of the Governor-General and Council as shall extend to any British 
subject or subjects, the court shall have and retain as full and competent 
jurisdiction as if the Act had never been made. 


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34 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

writs in the Kingdom of England; and he thought proper to limit 
the extent of its civil jurisdiction, of its ecclesiastical jurisdiction, 
and of its jurisdiction as a Court of Oyer and Terminer; but 
these are the only respects in which he limited, as to the extent 
of territory, those powers which the court was to possess. The 
clause limiting the civil jurisdiction is in these words [clause 
28]: “And we do further direct, ordain and appoint, that the 
jurisdiction, powers, and authorities of the said Supreme Court 
of Judicature at Bombay shall extend to all such persons as have 
been heretofore described and distinguished in our charters of 
justice for Bombay by the appellation of British subjects, who 
shall reside within any of the factories subject to or dependant 
upon the Government of Bombay.” It thus states, that all the 
jurisdiction, powers, and authorities of the Supreme Court of 
Bombay are to extend to those persons; but it cannot mean that 
the general jurisdiction of the court extends to no others. But 
if the whole of the article be read thus, “That the jurisdiction, 
power, and authority of the Supreme Court of Bombay shall 
extend to (and that the said court shall be competent and 
effectual, and shall have full power and authority to hear and 
determine all suits and actions whatsoever against) any of our 
said subjects distinguished,” etc.; it would then apply only to 
the civil jurisdiction alone, as to suits and controversies, and 
have no reference to any limitation on the other jurisdiction 
of the court. In like manner the Court of Equity is to extend 
over all the same persons as those who have civil suits. So 
again, in speaking of the criminal jurisdiction, the charter 
[clause 44] authorizes and empowers the said Supreme Court 
to “inquire, hear, and determine of all treasons, murders, 
felonies, misdemeanors, etc. committed by any of the King’s 
subjects in any of the territories subject to or dependent upon 
the Government of Bombay.” Now, if all the powers of the court 
had been previously limited by the clause of the charter granting 
the civil jurisdiction to subjects residing within the factories, 
this clause would be inconsistent with it. It, therefore, shows 
that limitation not to extend to all its powers and authorities, 
but to its civil jurisdiction alone. The result is then, that first, 
all the general powers of the Court of King’s Bench throughout 
a district including Poona and Tannah, the places in question, 
are given to the Supreme Court; then a civil authority is given, 
limited to a smaller district; and then other jurisdiction are 
given it, limited in the same manner. 


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The language of this charter thus becomes as intelligible 
as the principle on which it rests. The native subject shall not 
have his contract interpreted by a foreign law; but it equally 
imports him, whether contending with another native, or with 
a British-born subject, to be secured from that invasion of 
individual liberty, without which no justice of any kind can 
be obtained. The distinction is manifest between the ordinary 
objects of civil and criminal justice, and the high prerogatives 
vested in the Crown for the immediate protection of all its 
subjects. The powers which belong to His Majesty by virtue of 
his royal station, to be exercised by him through his Judges in 
the Court of King’s Bench, exist in conquered countries as well 
as those to which he succeeded when he came to the Crown. 
They cannot be taken from him, but by his own concurrence 
with the two other branches of the Legislature, in words which 
can leave no doubt of the intention to make so great a sacrifies. 

In these letters patent there is also this proviso [clause 45]: 
“That the Supreme Court shall not be competent to try any 
indictment or information against the Governor-General and 
others who are specified, except in particular cases.” Now the 
power of granting a criminal information is not involved in that 
of trying actions and indictments; yet the proviso clearly implies, 
that in all cases excluded from it under the circumstances 
there directed, the Supreme Court might hear a motion for a 
criminal information. 

It was only in the year 1827 (R. V. Wright, 1827, Morley’s 
Dig. Vol. I. p. 120) that Sir Charles Grey had occasion to give a 
judgement, which proves the opinion of that learned Chief Justice 
on the subject. A motion was made for a criminal information 
against a variety of persons who had obstructed a Sheriff’s 
officer in executing the process of the court. Some of the parties 
complained of were native subjects not open to the ordinary 
jurisdiction; no indictment could have been preferred against 
them. But the others were British subjects, or those employed by 
British subjects, who clearly would not fall within the exception. 
Sir Charles Grey expressly recognizes the distinction which we 
have drawn. “A question had been made, whether the Court 
possessed authority to grant a criminal information against 
Mendy Ally Khan, as it had been said that he was not subject to 
this jurisdiction, as he was not an inhabitant. In his own opinion, 
however (the opinion of the Chief Justice of Bengal), the question 


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36 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

of the jurisdiction of the court should not be entertained. There 
were two distinct powers of jurisdiction vested in the court, 
that of Oyer and Terminer and of the Court of King’s Bench. 
The former was limited; but the latter was not, but extended 
throughout all the Provinces under this Government. It was 
his opinion, that the Supreme Court possessed authority to 
grant information anywhere in the Company’s territories, for 
any act for which the Court of King’s Bench could issue one 
in England. The Court had a complete power of punishing 
any native, foreigner, or other person whosoever, contempt or 
violent obstruction of the process of the court, in the same way 
as the Court of King’s Bench. It would be perfectly anomalous 
to say that it did not possess the power of punishing that 
by the more deliberate mode of information, which could be 
effected by the mere summary process of attachment. He could 
not confine it to that question, seeing that they possessed the 
jurisdiction of the Court of King’s Bench. He did not know 
that the Court might enter into a criminal information against 
any person whatever. He should state, however, that such 
an authority should be executed sparingly, and with caution. 
This would set the question of the grounds of the criminal 
information at rest, as their jurisdiction over Mendy Ally Khan 
did not depend on his being an inhabitant of Calcutta.” He 
then proceeds to say, “that as some of those persons were not 
subject to indictment, and those subject to it were the least 
guilty parties, he would not grant a criminal information, 
but thought it better to leave it altogether to an indictment.” 

In this passage the power to try indictments is clearly 
separated, both from the right to issue attachment for 
contempt, and from that of granting criminal informations. 
Indictment can be tried by the Supreme Court only in its 
character of a Court of Oyer and Terminer, and its power to 
try them is bounded by the terms of the exception; but the 
power of punishing contempt is inherent in all courts. The 
power of proceeding by criminal information is inherent in the 
Court of King’s Bench and is transferred, without limitation as 
to persons, by the terms of the charter to the Supreme Court. 

Numerous cases might be drawn from the books, if authority 
were wanted, to inform your Lordships that, that power does exist 


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AND THE LORD SAID UNTO— 37 

in the manner described. In Bourn’s case, Cro. James, 
p. 543, “Montague, Chief Justice, said that the privilege of 
the Cinque Ports, that the King’s writ runs not there, is to be 
intended between party and party, but no such privilege can 
be against the King : and this writ (a writ of habeas corpus ) 
is a prerogative writ which concerns the King’s justice to be 
administered to his subject; for the King ought to have an 
account why any of his subjects are imprisoned; and it is 
agreeable to all persons and places, and no answer can satisfy 
it but to return the clause with paratum habeo corpus, etc.; 
and this writ hath been awarded out of this court to Calais, 
and all other places within the Kingdom, and to dispute it is 
not to dispute the jurisdiction, but the power of the King and 
His Court, which is not to be disputed; and of this opinion 
were all the other justices;” This doctrine of Lord Chief Justice 
Montague is fortified by precedents of the King’s writ having 
been awarded to Calais and other places within the dominion 
of the Crown of England, and has been fully recognized by 
the Courts in a variety of cases between that time and this. 
Lord Mansfield, in the case of Cowle, 2 Burrow’s Reports, 
p. 834, laid it down that the King’s writ must be said to run 
in all places throughout his dominions, but that this was 
not the case with all writs; and therefore, when he came to 
lay down the rule in that case, his Lordship directed it to be 
entered that writs of venire facias do not run in the town of 
Berwick; but he decided also, that the high prerogative writs 
arising out of a different source have a much more extensive 
operation. Now these high prerogative arise out of the natural 
allegiance the subject owes to the King, and the protection 
which that allegiance requires of the King for the subject? 
This is the principle which is stated in Calvin’s case in 7th 
Report (1), viz., that allegiance is the duty of the subject, and 
that protection is the duty of the King. Whenever therefore 
the subject owes allegiance, the King owes protection. Now 
can it be contended that in the case of any conquered country 
annexed to his Majesty’s dominions the inhabitants of that 
country do not owe him allegiance? If they do, it must follow 
that the King must owe them protection, and that protection 
is to be, as in the present instance, given, by his issuing 
by virtue of his prerogative his writ of habeas corpus, that 
he may know whether they are lawfully imprisoned or not; 
or his writ of certiorari, that he may know whether any 


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38 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

proceedings which have been commenced against them are 
conformable to the law; or his writ of prohibition, that he 
may keep the respective courts throughout his dominions in 
the due exercise of their duties; or his writs of mandamus, 
that he may oblige persons to do such acts as they are bound 
to perform. Therefore, when the King grants to a particular 
court, by virtue of the authority of an Act of Parliament, these 
powers arising out of his prerogative, the court has them in 
their full extent, unless he limits them, either as to extent of 
territory, or in some other way. Here the King has granted 
the same powers as the King’s Bench exercises in England, 
to be exercised by the Supreme Court of Bombay throughout 
a territory including the places to which these writs have 
been sent. It may be true, that the natives of India are not 
within the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court for the purpose of 
suing one another for private matters of dispute; that certain 
writs known to our law would not run as between party and 
party, and yet that the prerogative writs of the Crown being 
restrained by no clause in the charter, nor taken away by the 
direct words of an Act of Parliament, the sole power sufficient 
for that purpose must remain in the Crown, and exercised 
by that court to which the constitution has assigned so high 
and inestimable an authority. 

In the early part of his able argument in the Court of 
Bombay, the Advocate-General of Bombay referred to the 
celebrated Patna case, in the year 1777, before Sir Elijah 
Impey, and from his expressions, endeavoured to infer that the 
Court had no jurisdiction over the natives in a case like the 
present (Patna, Appendix, No. 17, Judgement of Sir, E. Impey, 
in the case of Nadarah Begum v. Behader Beg). “In this country, 
the gross body of the people are not, and only certain persons 
answering particular descriptions are, objects of the King’s laws 
or of the jurisdiction of this court. As therefore there are other 
laws and other courts, such as they are, to whom the bulk of 
the natives are amenable, and we were not anxious to extend 
our jurisdiction, we have suffered these pleas to the jurisdiction 
to be pleaded as freely as any other plea,” etc. On this doctrine 
great stress was laid by Mr. Dewar: but Sir Elijah Impey’s 
authority was not wanted in support of the fact, that natives 


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AND THE LORD SAID UNTO— 39 

are exempt from the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court. 
The question still comes round. What jurisdiction is here 
contemplated? Is it that jurisdiction to issue high prerogative 
writs, which cannot be abolished without positive enactment; 
or is it that jurisdiction to decide those controversies between 
party and party, which the law designates by the name of 
suits and actions ? Sir Elijah must have referred to the latter 
in the case where he permitted please to the jurisdiction to be 
freely pleaded. 

It was then argued, that because this Act of the 21st Geo. 3, 
cap. 70, enacted (section 11) that “Governor-General and Council 
should cause the name, description and place of usual abode and 
all natives employed in the service of the East India Company, 
in the offices therein mentioned, to be entered in a book or 
books to be alphabetically disposed,” that those precautions 
would hardly have been taken to ascertain what natives should 
be subject to the jurisdiction, if all natives without exception 
were. But in a limited sense of the word, we have no objection 
to admit that certain classes alone are within the jurisdiction. 
The registry of all the persons described is equally desirable for 
this purpose, whether our argument in favour of its embracing 
all in its more liberal sense, be well or ill founded. 

Having spoken of the high prerogative writs in general, we 
proceed to speak of the writ of habeas corpus in particular. 
In the year 1818 the doctrines held concerning that writ were 
examined by Lord Eldon, in Crowley’s case, 2nd Swanston, 
p. 1. A person had been committed by commissioners of Bankrupt 
for not answering satisfactorily, a motion was made for a writ of 
habeas corpus in vacation, and the question whether he possessed 
such a power was discussed by him with great care. He found a 
case in point decided by Lord Chancellor Nottingham (Jenkes’s 
case, 1676, 6 How St. Tr. 1189); but he resolutely overruled 
that decision when he found it inconsistent with the principles 
of the law of England. He treated it there as known law, that 
no man’s liberty should be invaded without the supreme legal 
authority having power to pronounce immediately on the reason 
of that restraint; and that this prerogative of the King might 
be called into action at any time, and could not be affected by 
general words in a statute. 

The case of Moro Ragonath (1 Knapp, 8) gave rise to the 
extraordinary interference of the Governor and Council of 


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40 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

Bombay. In that case, although a writ of habeas corpus issued, 
the body was not brought into court, nor any return made to 
the writ, though a strange, anomalous, questionable document, 
came from the person to whom it had been sent. The fact stated 
in that document, if true, might have been returned to the 
court, and the cause, if sufficient, would have been admitted by 
the court. If appeared too on the proceedings that the person 
to whom the writ was directed had obtained the authority of 
Mr. Dunlop, a Justice of Peace of that part of the world, 
to keep Moro Ragonath in custody, and we apprehend may 
well be considered as an agent employed by Mr. Dunlop, and 
thus answering the narrowest description of those within the 
jurisdiction. 

It is a much less daring presumption than the fiction in the 
law, that any person brought before the Court of Common Pleas 
by habeas corpus is a privileged person; and therefore Lord 
Eldon and Mr. Justice Blackstone commend the Common Pleas 
for presuming the party arrested to have their privilege when 
they knew he had not, because the law cannot endure that a 
man under unjust imprisonment shall return to it. 

It can hardly ever indeed happen that a person in the Indian 
territory should be imprisoned without the intervention of English 
subjects properly so called. 

The gaoler, in almost every case, is a native; all the officers of 
the native courts are natives; but the authority of the native courts 
is almost always under the control of English subjects. Servants 
of the East India Company preside over their jurisdictions. It 
would require a great deal of ingenuity, and a most remarkable 
concurrence of circumstances to find any person imprisoning 
another, and not acting under the employment of British subjects. 

The letter-missive to the Supreme Court (1 Knapp, 4) assumes 
to repeal the letters patent granted by the King in respect of all 
except those residing within the island of Bombay, or such as 
have been employed by the British authorities; it claims to refuse 
the execution of writs directed to any officer of the Provincial 
Courts; and in conformity with this assumption of power by the 
government were its proceedings in the case of Bappoo Gunness 
(1 Knapp, 6). 

The Counsel then proceeding to comment on the terms of the 
letter of the Governor and Council to the Judges. 


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AND THE LORD SAID UNTO— 41 

The Lord Chancellor (Lord Lyndhurst) observed, “What 
we have met here for is to ascertain the jurisdiction of the 
Supreme Court of Bombay. The object is discussion of what 
their power is.” 

The prerogative of issuing writs of habeas corpus is inherent 
in the Crown, and can only be abolished by express words and 
none such are found in the charter. Such writs are issuable by 
the law of England from the Court of King’s Bench, and they 
run into any dominions under the sway of the English Crown. 
Such writs have frequently issued from the English Supreme 
Courts at the several Indian Presidencies, which have all the 
powers of the English King’s Bench vested in them by Act of 
Parliament. Certain restrictions are imposed on the jurisdiction 
of the Supreme Court with regard to the persons subject to 
it; but those must be applied, by a reasonable construction, 
to its ordinary operations as a Court of Oyer and Terminer 
and of Gaol Delivery, not extended to the power of issuing 
those high prerogative writs which are indispensable for the 
safety of all the liege subjects of the Crown when urgent 
necessity demands immediate and decisive inter-position. But 
even if the subjects purely native could not be questioned for 
the imprisonment of a fellow subject, still the agents of those 
courts which act under British Judges are manifestly excluded 
from the pretended exemption. 

The celebrated statute of habeas corpus (31 Car. II. c.2) 
is intituled, “An Act for the better securing the liberty of the 
subject, and for prevention of imprisonment beyond the seas;” 
and in The King v. Cowle (R. v. Cowle, 1759, 2nd Burr. 835), it 
is stated, that the power of the King’s Bench in England extends 
to the granting writs of this description directed to persons in 
the colonies, though the necessity for issuing them had not then 
occured. That the court has such a power, appears from the 
authority of Lord Mansfield [King v. Cowle, 2nd Burrows (835)], 
and from the fact that writs of this description have issued 
into all the dominions of the Crown of England. They may, 
and do, extend, therefore, beyond the limits of the ordinary 
civil jurisdiction of the court here; and so in India the Supreme 
Court may have this jurisdiction throughout all the conquered 
territories, though its civil jurisdiction be limited to Bombay 
alone. The duty of the Court of King’s Bench in England, 


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42 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

in such cases, has been most correctly stated by Lord Coke, in 
his description of the authority of the Court of King’s Bench 
(Co. Instit. pt. 4, cap. 7); “For the pleasure of God and the 
quiteness of our subjects, to save our conscience and to keep 
our oath, by the assent of our great men and other of our 
Council, we have commanded our Justices that they shall 
from henceforth do even law and execution of right to all our 
subjects, rich and poor, without having regard to any person, 
without letting to do right for any letters or commandment 
which may come to them from us, or any other, or by any 
other cause”. If the Court of King’s Bench in England would 
not have neglected to do right for any letters the King of 
England might send to them, it is too much to expect that 
the Judges of the Supreme Court of Bombay should, without 
remonstrating receive from the Governor and Council of that 
Settlement a letter or commandment interfering with the 
upright and conscientious discharge of their judicial functions. 

Bosanquet and Spankie (Serjeants) for the East India 
Company.— It is obvious, from the words of the Act of the 
4th of his present Majesty, that the intention was not to give 
any jurisdiction to the Supreme Court at Bombay within the 
territories subject to Bombay, beyond that exercised by the 
Supreme Court within the Presidency of Fort Williams. In 
one respect, it will be found that the jurisdiction given by 
the charter carrying into effect the objects of that Act is less. 

But, for the present, let us suppose that the authority 
conferred is to the full extent the same as that conferred 
on the Supreme Court of Fort Williams. The great principle 
of the jurisdiction of the new courts which were established 
in India by the 13th of Geo. III. (Morley’s Dig. Vol. II., 
p. 549) was this, that so far as locality was concerned in 
the town of Calcutta, there was conferred an unqualified 
territorial jurisdiction over all the inhabitants. There is 
another jurisdiction, not so extensive in its effects, though 
reaching throughout the dominions subject to the Presidency, 
applicable to the designated classes of persons. The two 
things are most perfectly distinct; and we admit that so 
far as the privileges and authorities of the Court of King’s 
Bench in England can be applied, either to the localities 
of Calcutta or Bombay, or to the designated classes, the 


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AND THE LORD SAID UNTO— 43 

jurisdictions may be conceded; but it does not follow that they 
should have in the territory at large a jurisdiction, either 
to attach upon individuals not of the designated class, or to 
control the proceedings of other courts of a distinct authority. 
The distinction appears to have been wisely and considerately 
adopted by the Legislature. At Fort Williams, at Madras, and 
Bombay, the English law had prevailed for at least a century. 
It had prevailed, at all events, from the charter of Geo. I. 
(1726 : 13 Geo. I). It was known as the existing law there 
antecedently to the year 1774 : persons had been tried and 
condemned under the local jurisdiction of Calcutta for forgery 
and other crimes created by English status. Those who came 
to those towns, which were a kind of English colonies, came 
to the English law: they came to a place where they could no 
more evade the jurisdiction than men who come to England 
have a right to be tried by the law they leave behind them. 
The other class was a class who became subject, by their own 
acts, the servants of the Company, or British subjects, etc. 
etc.; who by voluntarily entering into those services rendered 
themselves subject to the jurisdiction of the King’s Courts. It 
was the policy of the law to leave those persons out of the local 
limits and of the designated classes, in point of jurisdiction, 
to be governed by their own law; and the exception was an 
exception to which they subjected themselves; and this is the 
view taken of the subject in the speech of Sir Elijah Impey 
in the House of Commons [ Parliamentary History, Vol. 26 
(1341-1416)]. 

The power enjoyed by the native or provincial court, is 
a power possessed by them long antecedent to the British 
conquests in India, and which exists, except where it has 
been altered by the legislative authority, which the British 
Parliament does not directly exercise, but which it has confided 
to the Governor General in Council. Thus all persons not 
subject to the King’s Courts are living under their own laws, 
under the authority of the British Legislature, and may be 
considered, to many purposes, as a separate nation under a 
different government. What is the power of the Court of King’s 
Bench supposed to be? The King himself formerly exercising his 
sovereign authority in the aula regis, which he now exercises 
by that court, still called the Court of our Lord the King before 
the King himself. The whole administration is derived from the 
ancient aula regis, the centre of all judicial authority; and all the 


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44 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

King’s courts are subject, without exception or distinction, 
to the control of the Court of King’s Bench. But the laws of 
England are not the laws of India. There is a code of laws which 
the King has thought fit, by the consent of his Parliament, 
to continue or enact and which are not the King’s laws in 
the sense that the laws of England are. There is therefore no 
analogy between the circumstances. The Courts in England 
are all drawn from the same source, they all flow in the 
same channel, they all apply to the same persons. But the 
laws in India are derived from a different source; they attach 
upon different classes of men; they have nothing in common 
with the laws of England. To confer upon the English courts 
of law existing locally in Calcutta or Bombay a control over 
the native laws and courts, would be a species of anomalous 
judicial administrtion, which we trust will never be sanctioned 
by the British Legislature. 

Previous to the estalishment of the Supreme Court in the 
year 1773, there were Mayors Courts at Calcutta, Madras 
and Bombay. The statute of 13th Geo. III. (c. 63) authorized 
the institution of a Supreme Court only at Calcutta. The 
language of that Act, and the charter founded upon it, gave 
rise to various discussions. Certain circumstances, which 
have been treated as precedents on the other side, took place 
previous to the 21st Geo. III. (c.70); but according to the best 
information which we have received, no instance is to be 
found since the passing of the 21st Geo. III. in 1781 (c.70), 
in which an attempt has been made by the Court at any one 
of the three Presidencies, to issue a writ of habeas corpus of 
the description now contended for. 

The statute of the 13th of Geo. III. (cap. 63) in the year 
1773 provides (sect. 13) that his Majesty shall have power to 
erect a Supreme Court at Fort William, and a proviso to this 
effect is added (sect. 14): “That the said new charter, and the 
jurisdiction, powers and authorities to be thereby established, 
shall not may extend to all British subjects who shall reside 
in the Kingdom or Provinces of Bengal, Bihar, and Orissa, or 
any of them, under the protection of the said United Company; 
and the same charter shall be competent and effectual, and 
the Supreme Court of Judicature therein and thereby to be 
established shall have full power and authority to hear and 
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AND THE LORD SAID UNTO— 45 

for any crimes, misdemeanors, or oppressions committed, or 
to be committed, and also to entertain, hear and determine 
any suits or actions whatsoever against any of his Majesty’s 
subjects in Bengal, Bihar, and Orissa, and any suit, action 
or complaint against any person who shall, at the time when 
such debt, or cause of action, or complaint shall have arisen, 
have been employed by or shall then have been directly or 
indirectly in the service of, the said United Company, or of 
any of his Majesty’s subjects.” 

Whatever obscurity or ambiguity may be found in particular 
clauses or expressions of this charter, or of the Act of 
Parliament, we apprehend that the court which was established 
was not a court of general jurisdiction throughtout all the 
Provinces, in the nature of the Court of King’s Bench, with 
certain exceptions, but a court of local and limited jurisdiction, 
with an extended jurisdiction, in certain cases, over certain 
descriptions of persons. This undoubtedly is a most material 
distinction in principle. It has been universally understood, 
that these are courts of limited and local jurisdiction, having 
a general jurisdiction within those local limits, not only over 
British subjects, but over all the native subjects, Mahommedans 
and Hindus as well as Christians, in all matters criminal and 
civil; subject to a proviso that the persons of different religions 
should be judged according to their respective religions, in 
certain cases; and that beyond these limits the courts shall 
have a certain jurisdiction over certain persons described to 
be British subjects, and persons in the service either of the 
East India Company or of other British subjects. 

The next material proviso (sect. 16) is, “That the Supreme 
Court shall hear and determine any suits or actions of any 
of his Majesty’s subjects against any inhabitant of India, 
residing in Bengal, Bihar, Orissa, or any of them, upon any 
contract or agreement in writing, where the cause of action 
shall exceed the sum of 500 current rupees, and where the 
said inhabitant shall have agreed in the said contract that in 
case of dispute the matter shall be heard and determined in 
the said Supreme Court.” This is certainly a very extraordinary 
provision to be introduced into an Act which is supposed to 
establish a court of general jurisdiction. 


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46 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

*The Act of 13th Geo. III. (c.63), and the charter founded 
upon it, gave rise to various disputes, arising, among other 
things, out of the issuing of the writ of habeas corpus; in 
cosequence of which the Act of 21 Geo. III. cap. 70, was passed 
for the purpose of removing doubts with respect to persons 
subject to the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court. The writ of 
habeas corpus had been issued to persons who were owners of 
land; and it was contended that any person who held the land 
and who paid rent, but had no other occupation connecting 
him with the East India Company, was to be considered as 
a person within the service of the East India Company, and 
as such within the general jurisdiction of the court. It has 
been said that applications were made on the part of the 
East India Company that provison should be made in the 
Act, giving power to issue the writ of habeas corpus. To what 
particular descriptions of persons the direction of such writs 
was intended to be confined is not stated; but if the subject 
was brought under the consideration of Government, and yet 
no clause was introduced in the Act of 21st Geo. III. (c. 70), 
then we have the less reason to suppose it was the particular 
intention of the Legislature to give the authority contended for. 
Certainly it is not expressly given, but the persons to whom 
writs of habeas corpus are said to have been addressed are 
expressly excepted from the jurisdiction of the Court in the 
9th and 10th sections of that Act, which says, generally, that 
natives under the circumstances therein particularized shall 
not be subject to the jurisdiction of the court on account of 
those circumstances; thereby clearly assuming, that but for 
those circumstances as natives, they would not be subject to 
the jurisdiction of the court. And then a clause is added, “that 
for more perfectly ascertaining those natives who should be 
subject to the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court, the Governor 
General and Council should cause the name, description, and 
place of usual abode, of all natives employed in the service 
of the East India Company, with certain exceptions, to be 
entered in a book or books alphabetically disposed.” 

*For a short and entertaining, although perhaps not a very impartial 

account of these disputes, see Mill’s History of British India, Book 

5th, Chapter 6th. 


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AND THE LORD SAID UNTO— 47 

How, then, was this matter understood soon after the 
passing of the 21st Geo. III. (c.70)? Out of the transactions which 
took place between the year 1773 and the year 1781, various 
accusations arose against the individuals occupying certain 
high stations, and among others, there was a charge against 
the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Sir Elijah Impey, who 
made his defence in the House of Commons, in a speech which 
was afterwards printed in the shape of a separate publication, 
and is correctly copied in the 26th Volume of the Parliamentary 
History (1341-1416). “The charter,” says Sir Elijah Impey, at 
page 1358 of that work, “has given a criminal jurisdiction, 
not local and territorial, over the Provinces, but personal, 
over pan of the inhabitants, answering to certain descriptions; 
but the jurisdiction given over the inhabitants of Calcutta is 
universal, that being a territorial jurisdiction throughout the 
whole town of Calcutta.” The object of the learned Judge upon 
this occasion was different from that which is now the subject 
of consideration; for it became important for him to show 
that the jurisdiction in Calcutta was a general jurisdiction, 
and that the jurisdiction in the Provinces was not a general 
jurisdiction. “The first, as to the Provinces at large, is new, 
and was introduced by that charter. All the laws of England 
established by that charter I admit to be new, as to them, and 
only to be supported by the authority of that charter; but with 
regard to the town of Calcutta, the operation of the statute 
was different. Long before the erection of the Supreme Court 
in 1774, there had existed in Calcutta courts in the nature 
of Oyer and Terminer and Gaol Delivery, administering the 
criminal laws of England with a territorial jurisdiction over 
Calcutta. The 13th Geo. III. (c. 63) abolished these courts to 
make room for the Supreme Court. It gave to the Supreme 
Court the power of trying the same crimes, with a territorial 
jurisdiction co-extensive with that of the old court.” 

It has been intimated that the jurisdiction now contended 
for has been enforced at Madras. Such a jurisdiction is at 
variance with the doctrine stated by Sir Thomas Strange, 
Chief Justice of Madras in the year 1802, in the first Volume 
of his Reports (Notes of Cases at Madras), page 135, Nagapah 
Chitty v. Rachummah and another. He there says, “It has 
been truly observed, that it is impossible to argue in this 
court from any analogous cases of jurisdiction in the courts 
at home. Those courts being by their constitution, according 


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48 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

to their respective modes and purposes of proceeding, the 
great depositaries of the universal justice of the realm, and as 
such, in every instance in which it is attempted to withdraw 
a case from their cognizance, bound to see, distinctly and 
unequivocally, that a jurisdiction adequate to the object in 
view exists elsewhere. If that be not stated so as to appear to 
the court, a plea to the jurisdicton fails, and the jurisdiction 
remains. But it is different here, because, though coordinate in 
its nature with those courts so far as its jurisdiction attaches, 
the jurisdiction of this court is limited with regard to persons 
not being British subjects.” This passage, we apprehend, bears 
on the very subject under consideration here. Though there 
are words in this charter giving to the court the authority of 
the Court of King’s Bench, it is the nature of the authority 
which is described, and not the extent of the jurisdiction. 
The extent of the jurisdiction is limited by other clauses; but 
the nature of the authority which the Judges are entitled to 
exercise where they have jurisdiction, whether within the 
local limits in respect of the inhabitants generally, or beyond 
the local limits in respect of British subjects, for English 
purposes, and administering English law, is in the nature of the 
authority exercised by the Court of King’s Bench in England. 
“Generally speaking,” adds Sir Thomas Strange (page 136), “it 
is restricted with regard to the natives (whether wisely or not 
is not for us to consider) to the inhabitants of Madras, and 
the plea therefore very properly confines itself to these facts; 
upon which the court is fairly called upon to say, whether the 
defendants, being natives, can be considered as inhabitants 
of Madras for the purpose of being subject to our jurisdiction 
upon the present bill. It is said in many cases, boni judicis 
est ampliare jurisdictionem. If for jurisdictionem be read (as 
was always read by Lord Mansfield) justitiam, it is a noble 
maxim. If an object and matter of jurisdiction exists, it is 
indeed the part of a Judge so far as circumstances may admit, 
to administer an enlarged and amplified justice, embracing 
the interests of all parties and all the bearings of the case 
in any other sense of the maxim. It seems to me that the 
strength of every jurisdiction consists mainly in a temperate 
admeasurement of it by those in whom it is vested; and that 
so far from its being the duty boni judicis ampliare, it becomes 
none more than Judges to set to others in power a different 


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AND THE LORD SAID UNTO— 49 

example, instead of, by overstrained constructions, and upon 
fanciful imaginations, to be outstepping the bounds set by 
their commission. Neither are we to presume that justice will 
not be done, though this court, sustaining the plea, should 
decline the office of rendering it.” 

There are various passages to be found in d iff erent statutes 
which strongly show, not, perhaps, the entire exemption of 
the natives of India from the jurisdiction of the Supreme 
Court, but that the authority of the Supreme Court was 
never intended to embrace them; and that they were never 
comprehended within that extensive authority which was 
given to the Supreme Court with respect to British subjects. 

Your Lordships will find in the 53rd of Geo. III., 
cap. 155, a long list of offences created in various clauses, all 
of which are introduced by words importing in clear terms 
the distinction between the local and personal jurisdiction of 
the court. At section 114, after reciting that it “was expedient 
that the stealing securities for the payment of money within 
the East Indies should be made felony,” and so on, it enacts, 
that if any person or persons within the “local limits of the 
criminal jurisdiction of any of his Majesty’s courts at Fort 
William. Fort Saint George, Bombay, or Prince of Wales’s 
Island, or if any person or persons, personally subject to the 
jurisdiction of any of the said courts at any place in the East 
Indies so that the distinction between the local jurisdiction 
the court, and the personal jurisdiction of the court, is very 
distinctly recognized, and that there may be persons within 
the local limits of the jurisdiction who are not personally 
subject, acknowledging a distinction between the local and 
the personal jurisdiction. 

A question then arises whether a native who is an officer 
of a Provincial Court, a Gaoler, for instance, and who as 
such may be considered as a person in the service of the 
East India Company, is subject to have an habeas corpus 
directed to him in his character of Gaoler, for the purpose 
of bringing up a native prisoner in his custody before the 
Supreme Court at Bombay. If we are right in supposing that 
there never has been any intention of giving to the Supreme 
Court a control over the proceedings of the Provincial Courts, 
if a regular succession of appeals has been established from 


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50 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

the Provincial Courts up to the highest appellate tribunal and 
in cases of sufficient magnitude to justify it to your Lordships 
at this Board, passing by the Supreme Court, and proceeding 
in a course of judicature entirely distinct from that of the 
Supreme Court, it is a most important question whether the 
course of proceeding is to be entirely evaded, on a ground very 
similar to that acted upon between 1773 and 1781. At that 
time certain natives, because they held land, or because they 
were employed in certain transactions, were contended to be 
within the language of the Act of Parliament and charter, which 
subjected persons in the service of the East India Company to 
the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court. Let it be admitted for 
the argument that the gaoler of a Provincial Court stands in 
the character of a person in the service of the Company and 
that he would be liable, as such, to have an habeas corpus 
directed to him, if he, as an individual, detained any person 
in his custody. Does it, therefore, follow that his character as 
a servant of the Company would give a right to the court to 
direct an habeas corpus to that person, to bring up a person 
in his custody as a prisoner of the local court? Does it give a 
right to the Supreme Court to examine into the constitution 
of the court (for this has been asserted), and to review its 
proceedings ? It has been said the court must have before it 
all the regulations and laws by which the Provincial Court 
was constituted, whether such court be a part of the original 
establishment of the Mogul Government not yet altered, or 
whether it be a new court established under the authority 
given by Parliament to the Government to make regulations. 
All this, according to the doctrine contended for, must be 
brought before the court in the shape of a return, for the 
Supreme Court to judge, first, whether the Provincial Court 
has been legally constituted, its proceedings have been properly 
conducted. We humbly apprehend, that it is manifest from the 
whole tenor of the Acts of Parliament and charter, that no such 
jurisdiction was intended to be given. In the Regulating Act 
of 21st George III. (c. 70), Section 23, it is enacted “that the 
Governor General and Council shall have power and authority 
from time to time to frame regulations for the Provincial Courts 
and Councils.” Here is a distinct legislative recognition of these 
Provincial Courts. A similar power is given to the Governments 
of Madras and Bombay to regulate the proceedings of 
the Provincial Courts of their Presidencies, and all those 


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AND THE LORD SAID UNTO— 51 

regulations are subject to the revision of his Majesty in Council. 
They are all directed to be transmitted to the Secretary of 
State, and if not altered, they become the law of the provinces 
by which those courts are governed. It is quite clear, therefore, 
that the Legislature has distinctly recognized the existence of 
those courts, the manner in which they are to be regulated, 
and the law by which they are to be governed. The regulations 
for the government of the provinces require no registration in 
the Supreme Court; while those which bind the inhabitants of 
Calcutta, Madras, and Bombay, and all British subjects, must 
be registered in and approved by these courts. 

Then we come to this section, (sec. 24) ; “That no action for 
wrong or injury shall lie in the Supreme Court against any 
person whatesoever exercising a judicial office in the country 
courts, for any judgement, decree, or order of the said court, nor 
against any person for any act done by or in virtue of the order 
of the said court.” So that although a native should be in the 
service of the East India Company as an officer of a provincial 
court, and although a British subject should be a Judge of such 
a court, for acts done in such court, no action lies against him. 
The same language is to be found in the charters; but although 
no action is allowed to try whether the act was legal or not in 
the Supreme Court, yet it is contended that the legality of the 
proceedings may be examined through the medium of an habeas 
corpus. This appears an extraordinary argument; and seeing 
that there is no provision to that effect in any of the Acts, we 
venture to submit that there is no ground for issuing the writ. 

We will now consider the charter recently granted to 
Bombay ( Morley’s Dig., Vol. II., P. 638). This charter contains 
a clause on which the whole question turns, and but for which 
there would be no ground of argument. The clause (clause 10) 
runs thus : “That the said Chief Justice and the said puisne 
Justices shall, severally and respectively, be, and they are, 
all and every of them, hereby appointed to be Justices and 
Conservators of Peace, and coroners, within and throughout 
the settlement of Bombay, and the town and island of Bombay, 
and the limits thereof and the factories subordinate thereto, 
and all the territories which now are, or hereafter may be, 
subject to or dependent upon the Government of Bombay 
aforesaid, and to have such jurisdiction and authority as our 
Justices of our Court of King’s Bench have and may lawfully 


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52 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

exercise within that part of Great Britain called England, 
as far as circumstances will admit.” Now, is it possible to 
construe this section otherwise than as saying that they are 
to be Justices and Conservators of Peace throughout the 
Presidency of Bombay, and to have such jurisdiction and 
authority secundum subjectam materiam ? that is, as such 
Justices and Conservators of Peace as the Justices of the 
King’s Bench, who we know are Justices of Peace, have and 
may exercise in that character throughout the whole realm of 
England, as far as circumstances will admit. Unquestionably, 
the Judges of the Supreme Court are so with respect to ail 
British subject throughout the provinces; and as such, the 
jurisdiction they have is of the nature of the jurisdiction which 
is possessed by the Judges of the King’s Bench when acting 
as Justices and Conservators of Peace. 

It is insisted, however, that by this clause all the powers 
of the Court of King’s Bench in England are granted to 
the Supreme Court at Bombay, not merely throughout the 
settlement of Bombay, but throughout the territories subject to 
the Presidency of Bombay, unlimited in any manner whatever 
with respect to persons; and that the Court of King’s Bench 
has authority to issue such a writ to any part of the provinces 
subject to the different Presidencies of India; a position into 
which it is not necessary to enter at large, but which, we 
apprehend, is founded upon an expression in one of Lord 
Mansfield’s judgements (Cowle’s Case, 2nd Burrows, P. 856), in 
which he mentions, “the plantations”. In that very judgement, 
however, his Lordship says he does not recollect or know of 
any instance of a writ of habeas corpus having been issued 
to such dominions. Applications, he says, had been made to 
this Board upon the subject, and we all know that this Board 
has a general superintendence in matter of law over the 
colonies. If, therefore, an affidavit should be laid, before the 
court, in which some individual was bold enough to swear to 
circumstances giving a prima facie jurisdiction to it, according 
to the doctrine contended for, an individual imprisoned at 
the foot of the Himmalayah Mountains must be brought 
from thence to the Court of King’s Bench at Westminster, 
provided that the Court of King’s Bench should think fit to 
issue a writ. It is said that the court possessed this power, and 


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AND THE LORD SAID UNTO— 53 

it was exercised when Calais was in the possession of this 
country. Of that there is no doubt. Calais sent members to 
Parliament, and at one period the law of England prevailed 
there. It is not necessary, however, to enter into this question. 

We understand that a learned dissertation was made in 
the court below, founded on the doctrines of Lord Hale, in 
which a distinction is made betwen the jura summi imperii 
and the jura mixti imperii or potestas jurisdictionis (Hale’s 
Analysis of the Civil Part of the Law of England, section 
6th); and it was contended that though the Supreme Court 
has no jurisdiction in the ordinary sense of that word, that is 
no civil jurisdiction over natives; that is it has not criminal 
jurisdiction; that it has not equitable jurisdiction, that it has 
not that ecclesiastical jurisdiction; that it has not Admiralty 
jurisdiction, yet that it has a potestas to be exercised over all 
the subjects of the King.* Now it is remarkable, that in almost 
every part of this charter but that now under consideration, 
the words “power, jurisdiction, and authority” are to be found; 
but in this particular clause the word “power” is not found. It 
is very singular, that where so much is built upon the term 
power, as distinct from jurisdiction, the word expressing power 
should not be found. But what is jurisdiction as distinguished 
from power ? and what jurisdiction is this which is meant 
to be exercised ? In the Pandects, lib, ii, tit, 1, the nature of 
jurisdiction is fully discussed, and one of the commentators 
gives a definition of it in a single line, “jurisdictionest notio 
quae jure magistratus competit .”** 


*Sir Peter Grant, in his judgement in the court below, after mentioning 
the distinction drawn by Lord Hale between the jura summi imperii and 
mixti imperii, proceeded to state Lord Coke’s description of the Court of 
King’s Bench, 4th Instit. cap. 7; and observed. “The third description of 
power possessed by this court has reference to the supreme ministerial 
authority which is lodged in it, altogether separate and distinct from 
its judicial jurisdiction or the power it exercises in the trying of cases, 
whether in the first instance or by way of appeal: being a sovereign 
potestas imperii, expressly described by Lord Coke as a power to correct 
errors and misdemeanors judicial; not by the way of trying, hearing, and 
determining, as in pleas of the Crown, but by issuing the prerogative 
and mandatory writs of the Crown; as of habeas corpus, prohibition, 
mandamus, and by bailing any person for any offence whatsoever.” 

**Cujacil paratitla in Pandecta, lib, ii, tit. 1: jurisdiction’s proprie notio 
est quae jure magistratus competit, quae enim maridata a magistrateu, 
aut a lege specialiter magistratui delegata est, non jure suo competit; 
officio quidem magistratrus continetur sed jurisdictione non continetur. 


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54 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

It is said that the Supreme Courts are Courts of King’s 
Bench, with all the authority of the King’s Bench. In Wales 
the jurisdiction to the Court of Great Sessions is given by 
the 34th and 35th of Henry VIII, c. 28, nearly in the same 
words. They have been introduced too into the charters of the 
Courts of almost all his Majesty’s colonies, and are, indeed, a 
general formula, of which the most extensive import must be 
qualified by the specific provision by which it is accompanied. 

It is worth while to observe also, that a clause (sec. 4) 
of a similar description is to be found in the charter given 
to the Supreme Court at Fort William (Morley’s Dig. ii., P. 
551); and that clause is taken from a clause in the charter of 
the 26th Geo. II. page 446, of the charters of the Company, 
and which ordains directs, establishes and appoints, that 
“the Governor or President and Council of Fort William in 
Bengal for the time being, shall be Justices of Peace, and 
have power to act as Justices of Peace, and as Commissioners 
of Oyer and Terminer and general Gaol Delivery; and that 
they, or any three or more of them (whereof the Governor or 
President, or in his absence the senior of the Council then 
residing at Fort William aforesaid, to be one) shall and may 
hold sessions of the peace, and of Oyer and Terminer and Gaol 
Delivery respectively, in and for the said town or factory of 
Calcutta, at Fort William in Bengal, and other the factories 
subordinate thereto, and do all such other acts as Justices 
of Peace and Commissioners of Oyer and Terminer and Gaol 
Delivery, with such powers, jurisdictions, and authorities, 
and under such regulations and restrictions, as are herein 
before given, granted, limited, and appointed, concerning 
Justices of Peace and Commissioners of Oyer and Terminer 
and Gaol Delivery for the said town of Madraspatnam.” The 
clause respecting Madras is found at page 430, and is in 
these words: “We do give and grant unto the said Company 
and their successors and do by these presents will, ordain, 
establish, and appoint, that the Governor or President and 
Council of Fort Saint George aforesaid for the time being, 
shall be Justices of Peace and have power to act as Justices 
of Peace in and for the said town of Madraspatnam, and in 
and for Fort Saint George, Fort Saint David, Vizapatam, the 
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AND THE LORD SAID UNTO— 55 

subordinate to Fort Saint George aforesaid, in the same or the 
like manner, and with the same or the like power as Justices 
of Peace constituted by any Commission or letter patent under 
our great seal of Great Britain, for any county, city, or town 
corporate in that part of our said kingdom called England, do 
or may exercise such office.” It was right, when a Supreme 
Court was constituted, that the Judges of that court should 
also be declared to be justices and Conservators of Peace 
throughout the whole extent in which they had occasion to 
act at all, either in their ordinary jurisdiction, or their more 
extended jurisdiction; and it was then natural, that instead 
of giving to the Judges a jurisdiction assimilated to that of 
Justices of Peace by their commission, they should have a 
power as Conservators and Justices of Peace, of the nature 
possessed by the Judges of the Court of King’s Bench, and 
such appears to be the manifest intention of this section. 

It has been, too, contended on the other side, that the 
Supreme Court has the power of issuing all the mandatory 
writs of the Crown to all the courts, of whatever description, 
within the territories subject to the Presidency of Bombay. If 
that power existed under the former general clause, why does 
the charter proceed, after establishing Courts of Request and 
Quarter Sessions, “to grant and ordain that all the said Courts, 
and Justices and other Magistrates appointed for the town 
and island of Bombay, and the factories subordinate thereto, 
shall be subject to the order and control of the Supreme Court 
of Judicature, in such sort, manner and form, as the inferior 
courts and Magistrates of England are by law subject to the 
order and control of our Court of King’s Bench; to which end 
the said Supreme Court is empowered and authorized to award 
and issue a writ or writs of mandamus, certiorari, procedendo, 
or error” (clause 59; Morley’s Dig. ii. , P. 677). Where was 
the use of this clause, giving the court this jurisdiction with 
respect to certain courts to be erected within the local limits 
of Bombay, if it had a general jurisdiction over every court 
established within the limits of the territories subject to the 
Presidency. The Court indeed had a further jurisdiction in its 
character of a Court of Oyer and Terminer. 

In the statute of 34 Geo. III., chap. 52, which was the Charter 
Act preceding the last, a power is given to the Governor General of 


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56 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

Bengal to issue commissions of the peace in His Majesty’s 
name, and to appoint Justices of Peace for the Province and 
Presidency, island, town and factory of Bombay, and the places 
belonging or subordinate thereto : and a clause is added, (sec. 
153) declaring “that all convictions, judgements, orders, and 
other proceedings, which shall be had, made or pronounced 
by or before any Justice or Justices of Peace within any of 
the British settlements or territories in India, out of the 
court of Oyer and Terminer within and for the same, shall 
and may be removed by writ of certiorari into the court of 
Oyer and Terminer and Gaol Delivery, of and from the same 
Presidency, al the instance of any of the parties thereby 
affected or aggrieved.” 

A similar provision is also made with respect to convictions 
before the Zillah Magistrates, by the 53rd of the late King, 
in cap. 155, Sec. 105 by which a power of removing them 
by certiorari is given in the court of Oyer and Terminer of 
the Presidency. Now it is a maxim, that where the power of 
issuing the writ of certiorari is not expressly taken away, it 
exists by common law in the Court of King’s Bench; and to 
oust their jurisdiction it must be taken away expressly. But 
here it is not the question of taking it away; but the question 
is of giving it expressly, and whether it would have existed 
at all unless so given. The Judges of the Court of Oyer and 
Terminer at Bombay are the Judges of the Supreme Court: 
but they do not take this superintending authority over the 
Zilla Courts qua Supreme Court; but a special authority is 
given to them for that purpose to issue a certiorari out of 
the Court of Oyer and Terminer. This tends strongly to show 
that the Supreme Court, as such, does not possess the power 
which is contended for. 

Lord Tenterden.— “The conviction of the Justices of Peace 
may be removed by certiorari into the Supreme Court of the 
Presidency.” 

Into the Court of Oyer and Terminer, that court being 
constituted of the same persons. But the authority is not given 
to them as Judge of the Supreme Court, but as Justices of 
Oyer and Terminer. 

The charter of Bombay does not suppose it confers an universal 
criminal jurisdiction, for it constitutes a court of Oyer and 


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AND THE LORD SAID UNTO— 57 

Terminer and Gaol Delivery, to enable the court to exercise 
criminal jurisdiction. The power of civil jurisdiction is given 
specifically The persons to be subject to the jurisdiction 
are specifically pointed out. A general jurisdiction over the 
Provinces can never be supposed to be given unqualified, 
and with all the privileges and prerogatives of the Court of 
King’s Bench. The Supreme Court is a civil court and a court 
of equity; and according to the rules of construction applied 
on the other side you give all, and then you give a portion; 
you give all the jurisdiction; you give as it were the whole 
estate, and then you dole out in detail these little beneficial 
legacies. Those who have already obtained the whole, are to 
have, under this rule of construction, something less than 
the whole. 

With respect to Moro Ragonath (1 Knapp, 8), however, it 
is impossible to contend that such a power could have been 
given to the Supreme Court of Bombay as was attempted to 
be exercised in his case. He was residing at Poonah. It was 
wanted to remove a cause into the court of Bombay. A habeas 
corpus was granted on an affidavit, and a person of high 
rank, nearly related to the deposed family, was called upon 
to bring up the body of a boy of whom he was the natural 
guardian, but who it was stated was then unduly detained 
in his custody. The question arises immediatley, how was he 
subject to this jurisdiction? If he had resisted, and a scuffle 
ensued, how could an attachment have been issued against 
those who disobeyed the writ? By this power of issuing an 
attachment you give a local jurisdiction, which by the regular 
prescribed terms of the charter does not exist. If the party 
disobeying is of the designated class subject to the jurisdiction 
of the Supreme Court, he ought to be registered : this man 
was not registered, and therefore there seems to have been no 
jurisdiction at all in the Court to have issued the writ : and 
he never could have been guilty of contempt in disobeying it. 
Even the Roman Emperor tells his subjects they are not bound 
to obey where the Judge exceeds the limits of his territorial 
jurisdiction: Pand, lib. 2. tit. 1. sec. 20. “extra territorium 
judicenti impune non paretur.” 

With respect to the case of Bappoo Gunness (1 Knapp, 11), a 
writ of habeas corpus was directed to the gaoler of the Provincial 


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58 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

Court. If such jurisdiction in issuing the writ is allowed, every 
person acting under the authority of the Court on receiving 
such a writ, must bring up the body to the Presidency, or state 
in detail the reasons of the detention, by whom made, and 
so on. How could such officers state the circumstances with 
such precision as to obviate objection ? A return to a habeas 
corpus drawn at Delhi or Poonah would be found extremely 
deficient according to our forms. Those who framed these laws 
could never have overlooked that consideration, and it is clear 
they never intended to let in such a state of things at all. 

It may be important to call your Lordships’ attention to 
this circumstance, that provision is made in various Acts for 
the establishment and regulation of the Provincial Courts 
with a course of appeal. By the 37th Geo. Ill cap. 142, sec. 8, 
the regulations of the Governor General affecting the natives 
are to be formed into a code, and published in all the native 
languages, that the natives may know what is the law to 
which they have to look. This was a measure first adopted 
by the late Marquis Cornwallis, and found to be so highly 
beneficial that it was adopted by the Legislature, and made 
part of the law of the country. 

There is a regular establishment of Provincial Courts, 
with a succession of appeals from the lowest court to a court 
of the highest appellate jurisdiction, both in criminal and in 
civil matters, established at the several Presidencies. The 
Court of Suddur Dewany Adawlut is the highest court of 
appeal in India in civil, as the Court of Suddur Nizamut 
Adawlut is the highest court of appeal in criminal cases. Both 
these courts are recognized by the 53rd Geo. III. (c. 155). 
A provision is also made for an appeal to His Majesty in 
Council, in cases above the value of £5000 from the Court of 
Appeal in India, passing by the Supreme Court. At Bombay, 
the numerous regulations concerning the Courts of Justice 
have with great labour and care been lately reviewed, and 
formed into a code. This code was published in 1827, and 
clearly shows that as much pains have been taken for the 
protection of the subject, to enable him to obtain redress 
from any injury which he may sustain from Provincial Courts 
or Magistrates in the territories of Bombay, as in any part 
of His Majesty’s dominions. With respect to the improper 


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AND THE LORD SAID UNTO— 59 

detention of persons, there are particular regulations, all 
which the Magistrates are bound by their oaths to carry 
into execution; and if they act corruptly they are subject to 
be proceeded against in the Supreme Court, for which there 
is a special provision by statute. In Regulation XII, the 
manner in which the senior Magistrate is to superintend all 
subordinate officers is pointed out, and by Regulation XIII, 
the Judge is bound to visit all the gaols, for the purpose of 
ascertaining whether persons are unlawfully detained there; 
he is to visit both the criminal and civil gaols, to notice to 
the officer concerned erroneous judgements, and to forward 
cases, if necessary, to the Suddur Foujdaree Adawlut for 
revised decision. 

It is not intended to say that a man who is in the service 
of the Company as an officer of a Provincial Court is therefore 
exempted from the jurisdiction of the Supreme Courts in 
matters where he acts as an individual; but it is declared, 
that if he detains any person by the orders of the Provincial 
Court he is subject to no action for such an act, nor is the 
Judge subject to an action. The only proceeding against him 
in the Supreme Court is by information, in case of corruption. 
When a person is detained under the orders of the courts in 
the Provinces the Supreme Court cannot order such person 
to be brought up for the purpose of investigating his case. 
That court has no such superintending jurisdiction over the 
courts in the Provinces as that which Lord Coke in his fourth 
Institute states the Court of King’s Bench to possess, by virtue 
of which it superintends and restrains the excesses of all the 
inferior jurisdictions of the country. Such an authority has 
not been given to the Supreme Court, and consequently the 
issuing of the writ of habeas corpus in the cases mentioned 
in the petition were illegal acts. 

Mr. Denman, in reply.— The Supreme Court at Bombay is 
made a Court of Oyer and Terminer, it has also the jurisdiction 
of the Court of King’s Bench in England, and it is as incident 
to that court that the present power is claimed. 

It has express power (clause 59, Morley’s Dig. ii. p. 677) over 
the Court of Requests and the Court of Quarter Sessions, “to issue 


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60 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

writs of mandamus, certiorari, procedendo, or error, and to 
punish any contempt thereof, or wilful disobedience thereunto, 
by fine and imprisonment”. Now the question is asked, why 
the charter should give these particulars if they were already 
included in the general grant. Is this, then, the first time that 
in all the rolls of English Acts of Parliament an unnecessary 
power can be shown to have been created, or express terms 
to have been used, where they were superseded by clear 
implication, or that the figure of speech called tautology can 
be detected ? Unless the argument is pushed to that extent it 
is plainly worth nothing; and that it cannot be fairly pushed 
to that extent the experience of every session demonstrates. 

But if this clause proves any thing it proves a great 
deal too much. The only writs enumerated in it are those 
of mandamus, certiorari, procedendo, and error. There is no 
mention of habeas corpus in this charter; yet it is stated 
on all hands that writs of habeas corpus have constantly 
issued; and if not, the certiorari for removing convictions and 
orders of Magistrates would be of little value. Why set aside 
the judgement against a man who has been convicted by a 
Justice, if the man is himself to remain in gaol, and the writ 
of habeas corpus cannot rescue him ? 

It is admitted that within Fort William in Bengal the 
Supreme Court of Calcutta is authorized to issue writs of 
habeas corpus ; therefore within the territories of Bombay, 
as described in the fourth of his present Majesty (4 Geo. 
iv. c. 71), the same power must exist in this Supreme Court. 

It is to be a court for all “the town and island of Bombay, 
and the limits thereof, and the factories subordinate thereto, 
and within the factories which now are, or hereafter may be, 
subject to or dependent upon; “with such powers as are given 
within Fort William in Bengal aforesaid, or the places subject 
to, or dependent upon, the Government thereof’ (clause 10, 
Morley’s Dig. ii. p. 645). 

Thus appointed, they form a Supreme Court, which 
is “to have such jurisdiction and authority as our 
Justices of our Court of King’s Bench have and may 
lawfully exercise within that part of Great Britain called 
England, as far as circumstances will admit” (clause 10). 
Here is a court with all the powers which the Court of 


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AND THE LORD SAID UNTO— 61 

King’s Bench possesses in this country. Then where is the 
exception which is to prevent its jurisdiction from attaching 
in any particular case ? We find it affecting actions, suits and 
indictments: as affecting criminal information, writs of habeas 
corpus, and the other high prerogative writs, it is nowhere 
to be found. 

The single decision of Sir Thomas Strange ( Nagapah Chitty 
v. Rachummah) has no relation to our question. A person that 
was not within the jurisdiction of the court at Madras had 
been actually brought within it by a fraudulent process of law. 

The Chief Justice there decided (1 Strange’s Madras Cases, 
p. 135), “That as where a native has been brought for some 
purpose to Madras by Government, against his will, and a 
third party, not concerned in bringing him here, attempts to 
take advantage of his being within the limits, to hold him to 
the jurisdiction, it seems to be agreed it is not to be permitted; 
much less ought it to be so in a case, where they were brought 
here, in their necessary defence against the injurious act of 
the plaintiff, of the consequences of which he would now take 
advantage to fix them, contrary to the maxim that no man 
should take advantage of his own wrong.” 

The whole effect, then, of the only case cited is this; that 
in a civil suit between individuals, where the defendant 
was clearly not within the jurisdiction, unless the plaintiffs 
fraudulent proceeding brought him within it, such a proceeding 
should not endure to the benefit to the wrong- doer and the 
prejudice of the party wronged. 

It is truly stated, that no clause has expressly given the 
power of issuing mandatory writs; but as the existence of that 
power is unquestionable, since it has been always exercised, 
and can be traced to no origin but the erection of a Supreme 
Court with all the functions of the English King’s Bench, we 
have here another proof, that the words erecting it are more 
than a mere formula, and have received their full effect. The 
statute of the 21st Geo. III. (c.70) is said to have made a 
difference not easily comprehended; for if its object really was 
to prevent the 13th Geo. III. (c. 63) from having so extensive 
an operation, the change would have been brought about by 
a plain enactment. 


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62 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

No judgement was delivered in this case, but the report 
of the Privy Council, which was affirmed by His Majesty, 
was. 

“That the writs of habeas corpus were improperly issued 
in the two cases referred to in the said petition. 

“That the Supreme Court has no power or authority to 
issue a writ of habeas corpus except when directed either 
to a person resident within those local limits wherein 
such court has a general jurisdiction, or to a person out of 
such local limits, who is personally subject to the civil and 
criminal jurisdiction of the Supreme Court. 

“That the Supreme Court has no power or authority to 
issue a writ of habeas corpus to the gaoler or officer of a 
native court as such officer, the Supreme Court having no 
power to discharge persons imprisoned under the authority 
of a native court. 

“That the Supreme Court is bound to notice the 
jurisdiction of the Native Court, without having the same 
specially set forth in the return to a writ of habeas corpus 

Note Before this decision had been pronounced, the 
Supreme Court at Bombay had closed under the following 
circumstances. No return having been made on the 10th 
of October 1828 to the writ alias habeas corpus directed 
to Pandoorang Ramchunder, a pluries habeas corpus was 
ordered to issue, returnable immediately, and marked 
in the penalty of 10,000 rupees. To this writ also no 
return was made; and on the 23rd of February 1829, 
Mr. Justice Grant ordered an attachment to issue against 
Pandoorang, and that it should be directed to the Governor 
and Council, in order that they might execute it by such 
person or persons as they might depute for that purpose; 
he also directed a letter to be sent at the same time to 
the Secretary of Government to explain the reasons of the 
Court acting in this manner, and enclosing copies of the 
affidavits and proceedings in the case. Upon the receipt of 
this letter and writ, the Secretary replied, that it was the 
intention of the Government to persist in the line of conduct 


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AND THE LORD SAID UNTO— 63 

expressed in the letter of the 3rd of October 1829, until they 
received orders from their superiors in England. After this 
reply, Mr. Justice Grant, on the 1st of April 1829, declared 
that the Court had ceased on all its sides, and that he 
would perform none of the functions of a Judge until the 
Court had received an assurance that its authority would be 
respected, and its process obeyed, and rendered effectual by 
the Government of the Presidency. Asiatic Register, vol. 28, 
p. 351, et seq. 

[The letter patent, under which the existing High Courts in 
India were constituted, and which were issued under 
the Indian High Courts Act, 1861 (24 and 25Vict. c. 
104), are dated severally as follows: Calcutta, 28th Dec. 
1865; Madras, 28th Dec. 1865; Bombay, 28th Dec. 1865; 
North-Western Provinces, 17th March 1866. The letters 
patent are set out at length in Stat. R. and O. Rev. 
vol. iv. pp. 82-131. As to the jurisdiction of the High 
Courts, see Ilbert, Government of India, pp. 241-255. 
See also the same work, pp. 387-405 (application of 
English law to natives of India); pp. 406-463 (British 
jurisdiction in Native States).] 


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5 

UNTOUCHABLE WORKERS OF 
BOMBAY CITY 

By G. R. Pradhan, Ph.D. 

With a Foreword by Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, m. a., Ph. d . d. Se„ Bar-at-Law, j.p. 


FOREWORD 

This treatise is a thesis which the author wrote in fulfilment 
of the requirements prescribed by the University of Bombay 
for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Arts. That was 
as accepted by the University, should constitute sufficient 
recommendation in favour of its merits and no such thing as 
a Foreword from me should have been thought necessary by 
the Author. I do not know why the Author feels the necessity 
of a word from me. Probably, that I do from the community 
whose life has been the subject-matter of this investigation 
is the reason which has led him to call upon me to write a 
Foreword and I gladly respond to his invitation. 

The author has studied the life of the Untouchables in 
the City of Bombay under various heads and thus gives 
quantitative idea of the extent of the overcrowding, the 
earnings, employment, debts, etc. that prevails among the 
Untouchables. He has collected data which is certainly 
valuable. In any statistical investigation the question that 
arises is whether the cases studied are typical or not. The 
average to be normal, the cases investigated must be typical. 
There is no reason to suppose that his cases are not typical. 
It may, therefore, be taken that the picture of the life of the 
Untouchables he has given, is a true picture. 

This study would have been of greater value if it had 
been a comparative study contrasting the social condition 
of the Untouchables with that of the Caste-Hindus. But 
that it is not. Such a study was all the more necessary 
in view of the opinion on the one hand and caste Hindus 
on the other, if it is proved that the Untouchable does not 
suffer by reason of his Untouchability. But if on comparison 
it is found that the Untouchable suffers in his earning, 
in his employment and in other respects in a competitive 


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UNTOUCHABLE BOMBAY CITY 65 

society as aganist a caste Hindu and if this disadvantage is 
attributable to no factor other than Untouchability, then it will 
have to be admitted that the case for conversion was strong. 
But all that must await as comparative study. Such a study 
will have to be undertaken some day either by the author of 
this book or by someone else if the present study is to be a 
useful guide for understanding why the conclusions drawn by 
the author are what they are; and whether the differences if 
any in the condition of the touchables and Untouchables is due 
to any such social factor as Untouchability. As a preliminary 
to such an effort the booklet must be welcomed. 

Rajgrih, Dadar B. R. Ambedkar 1 

10 - 2 - 1938 . 


• • 


b Karnatak Publishing House, Bombay, 1938. 


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6 

IS GANDHI A MAHATMA ? 

Is Gandhi a Mahatma ? I am sick of this question. There 
are two reasons why this question annoys me. Firstly, I hate 
all the Mahatmas and firmly believe that they should be done 
away with. I am of the opinion that their existence is a curse 
to the nation in which they are born. 

The reason why I say so is because they try to perpetuate 
blind faith in place of intelligence and reason. 

Secondly, I do not know what exactly people understand 
by the word Mahatma. 

Even then since the Editor of the ‘Chittra’ seems to be so 
adamant on getting a reply from me, I have decided to make 
earnest efforts to answer this question. 

Generally speaking according to an ordinary Hindu in 
order to pass as Mahatma a person must have three things, 
namely his robe, his character and his particular doctrine. If 
these qualities are taken as a criterion for judging a Mahatma 
then in the eyes of ignorant and uneducated persons who look 
towards other for salvation Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi can 
be called a Mahatma. It is very easy for anybody to become a 
Mahatmas in India by merely changing his dress. If you are 
wearing an ordinary dress and leading an ordinary life even 
if you perform extraordinary noble deeds, nobody takes any 
notice of you. But, a person who does not behave in normal 
manner and shows some peculiar trends and abnormalities in 
his character, he becomes a saint or a Mahatma. If you put on 
a suit or ordinary dress and do something, people would not 
even like to look at you. But if the same person discards his 
clothes, run about naked, grows long hair, abuses people and 
drinks dirty water from the gutters, people fall at his feet and 
begin to worship him. In these circumstances if Gandhi becomes 
Mahatma in India there is nothing surprising. Had these things 
been practised in any other civilised country, people would 
have laughed at him. To a casual observer Gandhi’s teachings 
appear to be very sweet and appealing. Truth and Non-violence 


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IS GANDHI A MAHATMA ? 67 

are very noble principles. Gandhi claims to preach ‘Satya’ (Truth) 
and ‘Ahimsa’ (non-violence) and people have so much liked it 
that they flock around him in thousands. I fail to understand 
why do they do so. Is it not a fact that thousands of years ago 
Lord Buddha gave the message of truth and non-violence to the 
world. No body except an ignorant fool or congenital idiot would 
give credit to Gandhi for originality in this matter. There is 
nothing new in the pronouncement that ‘Truth and Non-violence’ 
are necessary for the preservation of human civilisation. There 
is nothing new that Gandhi has added to the maxim. As I have 
already stated earlier Lord Buddha taught these principles 
thousands of years ago. Had Gandhi thrown some light over the 
intricate problems arising from the experiment of ‘Truth and 
Nonviolence’ this would have added luster to his Mahatmaship 
and the world would have remained under gratitude for ever. 
World is anxiously waiting for the solution of the two riddles, 
namely how to uphold the noble principle, of ‘truth’ and under 
what circumstances should violence be considered a ‘right action’. 
Lord Buddha preached that attitude towards ‘Truth’ and ‘Non- 
violence’ should be pragmatic. What answer Jesus Christ would 
have given to this question, unfortunately we have no means to 
know. Perhaps Pilate did not allow him time enough, to answer 
this question. Has Gandhi answered this question? I do not find 
it anywhere. If we study his teachings and sermons we find that 
he is trading on other pepole’s capital. ‘Truth’ and ‘Non-violence’ 
are not his original discoveries. When I seriously study Gandhi’s 
character, I become exceedingly convinced that cunningness is 
more evident in his character than the seriousness or sincerity. 
According to me his actions can be likened to a base coin. 
His politeness is like the politeness of Urea Heap, case of the 
characters in the famous English novel ‘David Copperfield’. He 
has managed to keep himself in the forefront by means of cunning 
and inherent shrewdness. A person who has faith in his capacity 
and character faces the realities of life in a bold and manly 
manner. He has no need to keep a dagger up his sleeve, Napolean 
always charged from the front. He did not believe in treachery 
and never attacked from behind. Treachery and deceit are the 
weapons of the weak. Gandhi has always used these weapons. 
For many years he had been declaring himself to be a humble 
disciple of Gokhale. Thereafter he had been admiring Tilak for 
many years. Afterwards he hated Tilak also. Everybody knows 
this. Everybody knows that unless he used the name Tilak for 


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68 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

raising funds he could not have collected 1,000,0000 for 
Swarajya Fund. Forgetting his personal relation and leaving 
aside other considerations, like a shrewd politician he attached 
the name of Tilak to the Fund. 

Gandhi was staunch opponent of Christian religion. In 
order to please the Western world he often quoted from the 
Bible in times of crisis. In order to understand the working 
of his mind I have two other instances to quote. 

During the Round Table Conference he told people, “I shall 
not raise any objection against the demands presented by the 
representatives of the Depressed Classes”. But, as soon as the 
representatives of the Depressed Classes people placed their 
demands, Gandhi quietly forgot about the assurances given 
by him. I call it a betrayal of the people belonging to the 
Depressed Classes. He went to the Moslems and told them that 
he would support their 14 demands if they in turn opposed 
the demands placed by the representatives of the Depressed 
Classes. Even a scoundrel would not have done this. This is 
only one instance of Gandhi’s treachery. 

Nehru Committee’s Report was presented in the open 
session of the Congress for discussion. Some amendments 
were to be made in the Report. All of you must be knowing 
about it. Mr. Jayakar was hired by Mr. Gandhi to oppose 
these amendments. These amendments were very vehemently 
opposed by Mr. Jayakar and his supporters. This is known 
to many people. But what were these amendments and why 
so were these forcefully opposed ? Not many people know 
the background of these amendments. I came to know about 
the opposition of Jayakar. (It is a fact I have no reason to 
question the truth about it) from people who had opposed 
the amendments. All this was made known by Pandit Motilal 
Nehru, and Mr. Jinnah who was betrayed by Mr. Gandhi. The 
corrections which were proposed to be made in the Nehru 
Committee Report were suggested by Mr. Jinnah for the 
benefit of his community. But, when Gandhi came to know 
about it, he thought, a great deal more had been given to 
the Moslems by Pandit Motilal Nehru than what he wanted 
to give originally. 


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IS GANDHI A MAHATMA ? 69 

In order to humiliate Pt. Motilal Nehru he vehemently 
opposed these proposals. Hindu-Moslem hostility is the result 
of the deceitful action on the part of Gandhiji. 

The man who was considered to be a friend of the 
Untouchables and the Moslems betrayed the cause of the very 
same people whose cause he claimed to be a champion. This 
immensely pained me. There is an old saying which benefits 
the occasion (Bagal mein chhurri Munh mein Ram) : ‘God’s 
name on the lips and dagger under the armpit.’ If such a 
person can be called a Mahatma, by all means call Gandhi 
a Mahatma. Accoding to me, he is no more than a simple 
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. 

I have given more than what the Editor of the ‘Chittra’ 
demanded. I must have told a great deal more than what the 
readers of the Chittra can digest. 

Apart from the incidents quoted herein, there are two 
more things that I shall tell and then close. The age of 
Ranade, Gokhale, Agarkar and Tilak and the movements 
started by them were different from the Gandhi age. Their 
age was the age of knowledge. There is absolutely no doubt 
about it. Gandhi’s age can be called the ‘Tamo Yug’ of India. 
The politics of Agarkar and Tilak was based on honesty and 
truth. It was not hollow and noisy. But the politics of Gandhi 
is hollow and noisy. It is the most dishonest politics in the 
history of Indian polity. Gandhi was the man responsible 
for eliminating morality from politics and instead introduced 
commercialism in Indian politics. Politics has been denuded 
of its virtue. ‘When the salt has lost its savour, wherewith 
you shall salt it’, asked Jesus Christ of the pharisees. How to 
get rid of the pernicious saintly idiosyncracies of Gandhiji in 
Indian public life is the second and most important question. 
If the Hindu India does not realize it today, it will take a long 
time to retrace its steps. Majority of the Indian population 
is illiterate, ignorant and uncivilised. This may not be the 
fault of the people. The privileged few of the society have 
deliberately kept the masses ignorant and illiterate. As a 
matter of fact it is impossible to fight against the Mahatma 
on the strength purely of logic and rationalism. It is fight 
between intellectualism against miracles and idiosyncracies. 


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70 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

Reason alone cannot wipe off the hypnotic effect of Mahatmic 
miracles. In these circumstances I would like to offer some 
suggestions. In order to put an end to the activities of the 
Mahatma, other Mahatmas should come forward to take 
active part in Indian public life and set up a political wing 
of their own. There is no dearth of the Mahatmas in India. 
Upasani Buva, Dada Maharaj, Mehar Baba, Narayan Buva 
Kedgaonkar are some of the famous names. Numerous saints 
and ‘ Mahatmas’ are present in India. They know the art of 
befooling and ensnaring the innocent people. True, the number 
of their followers is far less than followers of Gandhiji but 
their incapacity or lack of ability alone cannot be the reason 
for that. They have the ability and the strength to attain 
freedom along with the salvation for their Hindu masses. There 
are many reasons why they have not been able to know this. 
Owing to his dual policy and duplicity of character Gandhiji 
was able to succeed in creating a following by promising to 
attain spiritual and political liberation for all. I believe that 
if Uspani Buva, Narayan Maharaj etc. adopt the methods of 
Gandhiji undoubtedly they too would be able to establish the 
wing which can effectively face the blind followers of Gandhi. 
In this lies India’s salvation. Having a number of parties in the 
country will be beneficial to this country at least for the time 
being. If an organisation is set up with these aims and objects, 
it would be able to serve the same purpose as was served by 
the Apsaras of the puranas namely the annihilation of their 
adversaries. And if this dose not happen and this organisation 
remains reactionary even then its existence would be useful. 
In this way, at least the pernicious creed of fascism which 
is spreading its tantacles all around will be stalled. I believe 
that if a Mahatma comes and places his Manifesto stating 
in a straight forward manner that he can achieve salvation, 
perhaps India will attain intellectual liberation. This is not 
a joke. This is no vilification or criticism of anybody. I am 
writing it with all the seriousness that I can command. 

Will the Hindus by changing the minds of the Mahatmas 
like Dada Maharaj, Meher Baba or Narayan Buva try to 
serve India ? 

• • 


This article was published originally in Chittra (Marathi), Dipavali Special 
Number, 1938. 


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7 

APPEAL FOR PURSE TO MARATHI SCHOLAR 

Dr. Ambedkar states that it has been decided to give a 
purse to the wellknown Marathi scholar Mr. J. R. Ajgaonkar 
on his 60th birthday by his friends and admirers. 

Dr. Ambedkar adds to say that the study of the old 
literature which Mr. Ajgaonkar made his life’s mission has 
not yielded him any great return. 

In his successful attempts to enrich the Marathi literature, 
it is found that the old scholar has been left poor and helpless, 
on the threshold of his 61st year. Some very regrettable 
domestic calamity, some time back, make it all the more 
necessary for the lovers of Marathi literature, to stand by the 
veteran scholar and help him in his time of need. 

Dr. Ambedkar requests the public to send their contributions 
to the Purse as early as possible. 


Sd/ — B. R. Ambedkar 

• • 


^Bombay Chronicle, dated 14th July 1939. 
Date is not mentioned-Editors. 


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KNOWLEDGE IS POWER IN EVERY FIELD OF LIFE 
Message to The Marhatha First Annual Journal 
(“ Marhatha ” Special Number ) 

Ambedkar School of Politics, Poona 
Estd. 30th July 1944 
“ Study, Service and Sacrifice ” 

MESSAGE 

I have always held that Knowlege is Power in every field 
of life. The Scheduled Castes will not attain their goal of 
freedom and liberty until they drink deep of all knowledge. 
J trust, ‘Ambedkar School of Politics, Poona’ will make an 
honest attempt in that direction. The Marhatha First Annual 
Journal is a good attempt and I wish them all luck. 


Sd/ — B. R. Ambedkar 

• • 


Date of the publication is not available — Editors. 


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9 

CONGRESS ATTEMPTS TO BYPASS 
UNTOUCHABLES 

One of the most important days in the history of Indian politics was 
the 12th November 1930, the day on which late Majesty King George 
the 5th, formally inaugurated the Indian Round Table Conference. 
From the view point of the Indians it was an important incident; 
for the first time it recognised the right of Indians to be consulted 
in framing the constitution of their country. For the Untouchables 
it was a landmark in their history. They too were for the first time 
recognised to be represented separately by two delegates, the late 
Mr. Shrinivasan and my humble self. The Indian National Congress 
was the only body which did not take part in this Conference. The 
work of the Conference was distributed in nine committees, one of 
them being the Minorities Committee. 

The Act of 1919 which emphasised necessity of protection of the 
Depressed Classes, actually did nothing. It was just a theoretical 
assertion. I, therefore, submitted a memorandum in which I pleaded 
for the following 

(1) Equal citizenship for the Depressed Classes, 

(2) Free enjoyment of equal right, 

(3) Protection against Discrimination, 

(4) Sufficient political power for the Depressed Classes to 
influence the legislative and executive action for the purpose 
of securing their welfare, which included- 

(a) right to adequate representation in the Legislature, and 

(b) right to elect their own men, 

(i) by adult suffrage, and by 

(ii) separate electorate for the first ten years, and there 
after by joint electrorates with reserved seats, 

(5) Adequate representation in the services. It was 
emphasized to establish a Public Service Commission in 
all the provinces whose duties would be : 

(a) to recruit the services in such a manner as to secure 
due and adequate representation of all the communities, and 


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74 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

(b) to regulate from time to time priority in employment 
in accordance with the existing extent of the representation 
of the various communities in any particular service 
concerned, 

(6) Redressing against prejudicial action or neglect of 
interest, 

(7) Special Departmental care, and 

(8) Fair representation according to their population 
in the Cabinet. 

Now let us ask what happened to these demands of the 
Untouchables ? We must turn to the report made by the 
Minorities Committee to the Round Table Conference. Items 
16 and 18 tell us the determined attitude of the Depressed 
Classes in securing separate electorate for themselves. In 
brief, it was unanimously agreed that the Untochables were 
entitled to be recognised as a separate element in the political 
life of India. Here we must not forget that the unanimous 
agreement on the point of the separate recognition of the 
Untouchables was made possible only in the absence of the 
Indian National Congress. 

To turn to the Second Round Table Conference we 
find that the Congress had its full representation in it. 
Every one was looking forward to the Congress to lead 
the Conference to success. Unfortunately, Mr. Gandhi was 
chosen to represent the Indian National Congress. A worse 
person could not have been found to guide the destiny of 
India. He presented a curious picture of a man, who in 
many cases would terrify the Conference to resist in every 
way any compromise which he regarded below his principle, 
though others would regard it absolutely as a prejudice 
and in other cases he would remain silent on the points 
of vital importance which was considered as a matter of 
principles by others. On 15th September 1931, Mr. Gandhi 
made his first speech in which he said that the problem of 
the Untouchables is not at all. He referred to the activities 
of the Social Conference, about which we know that the 
Congress did not allow this body to hold its annual session 
under the pandal of the Congress, merely because Mr. Tilak 


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CONGRESS BYPASS UNTOUCHABLES 75 

had threatened to burn the pandal if it was allowed to be 
used by the Social Conference party. On 17th September 1931 
in the Federal Structure Committee Mr. Gandhi fulminated 
the following words : 

“Of course, the Congress will share the honour with 
Dr. Ambedkar of representing the interests of the Untouchables. 
They are as dear to the Congress as the interests of any other 
body or of any other individual throughout the length and 
breadth of India. Therefore, I could most strongly resist any 
further special representation.” 

Indeed, this was nothing but the declaration of war by 
Mr. Gandhi and the Congress against the Untouchables. He 
was making his plans to bypass the Untouchables and to 
close the problem by bringing about a settlement between 
the Hindus, Muslims and the Sikhs. It was being done quite 
confidentially. Knowing that this was a mischievous move 
I got up and said, “I should like to say that I have already 
presented our case to the Minorities Sub-Committee last 
time. But I do want to say most emphatically that whoever 
claims it, he cannot give it out of my share. I want to a make 
that absolutely plain.” On this point Mr. Gandhi remained 
silent and went on contemplating about the pact between the 
Hindus, Muslims and the Sikhs. Mr. Gandhi failed to achieve 
success in this pact. He cut a sorry figure when he said that 
the failure in achieving the success was owing to the fact that 
the representation of the delegates was defective as all the 
delegates were nominated by the Government. This was an 
indirect challange to the authenticity of the representation 
made by me as the delegates of the Untouchables, Mr. Gandhi 
insisted that he was the sole champion of the Depressed 
Classes. To answer the challenge of Mr. Gandhi I said, 
“Even if the Depressed Classes of India were given a chance 
of electing their representatives to this Conference, I would 
all the same find a place here. I say, therefore, whether I 
am a nominee or not, I fully represent the claims of my 
community.” In the course of my speech I also showed them a 
telegram which I had then received, the telegram was sent by 
a man whom I had never met, it was also sent from a place 
where I had never gone too. Not only this, telegrams after 


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76 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

telegrams poured in the Conference all in my support, it 
was a defeat for Mr. Gandhi, who was now forced to keep 
quiet and accept the inglorious defeat of so glaring a claim. 

Thus is the old story of the end of all the efforts of 
the Minorities Committee to bring about a solution of the 
communal problem. It would not be an exaggeration to say 
that the main purpose of Mr. Gandhi in going to the Round 
Table Conference was to oppose the legitimate demands 
of the Untouchables. Mr. Gandhi would not mind the 
separate electorate of the Muslims or the Sikhs, but when 
the Untouchables ventured to be recognised as a separate 
entity, he made the bitterest condemnation of their demands. 
Mr. Gandhi had no logic, he had no principles. He had only 
the ‘agony of his soul’ which morally forced him to utter 
out those pious sentences against the Untouchables. He 
never dared to oppose the Muslims in the same sarcastic 
language. How could he ? He dared to oppose the demands 
of the Untouchables only because he anticipated that those 
Untouchables who were unpaid slaves of the Caste Hindus 
were being dragged out of the bond of slaverly, which in 
other words meant that the Caste Hindus would have to be 
bereft of the honorary serf who had added to their dignity 
for times unknown. 

Although the Congress has been beating the drums of her 
most representative character, this incident plainly showed 
that the Congress was nothing but another name for the 
Caste Hindus. That is why we see the Congress more alert 
on the point of segregation of the Untouchables from the 
rest of the Caste Hindus. Had this objection been raised by 
any other body it would have been considered legitimate. 
But what axes had the Congress to grind when she talks 
on behalf of the Untouchables? Does this not mean that the 
Congress is apparently a Hindu body. The problem of the 
Untouchables was the problem of the Caste Hindus and the 
Congress was not a Hindu organisation, then why should she 
put her nose into the problem which was quite foreign to 
her own sphere ? She only wanted to lull the Untouchables 
into sleep for another thousand years by not allowing the 
legitimate rights for the Untouchables. 


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CONGRESS BYPASS UNTOUCHABLES 77 

The Congress centred all its energies towards the neglect of 
the Untouchables. They approached the Muslims and devised 
a Scheme to bypass the Untouchables. Mr. Gandhi agreed to 
the fourteen points of the Muslims on the condition that they 
would not support the Untouchables and would withdraw their 
support to them. But thanks to the noble sense of humanity 
in the Muslims they rejected this offer made by the Congress 
and thus did not agree to isolate the Untouchables. In the 
Franchise Committee the Congress made another attempt to 
by-pass the Untouchables. Strange as it may appear some of 
the witnesses said that there were no Untouchables at all. 
This shows that how the Congress can conspire in a cold 
and calculated manner against the Untouchables out of pure 
Selfishness and do indirectly what he cannot do directly . 1 


• • 


1 : Jai Bheem : dated March 12, 1946. 
Reprinted-Khairmode, Vol. 8, Pp. 43-48. 


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10 

I DO NOT SHARE DEFEATIST MENTALITY 

Message 

The Scheduled Castes Federation lost the last general 
Elections.* Consequent upon its defeat some have deserted 
it, some have lost faith in it. I do not share this defeatist 
mentality. To win seats in Election is not the ideal of the 
Federation. To win seats for the Federation is only a means 
to an end. The end is to serve the people for whom it is 
established. So long as the problem remains, the Federation 
will continue in one form or the other. 

The defeat of the Federation is to be welcomed. For it has 
helped to drive away the most undesirable element that had 
entered the Federation. Those who remain in Federation have 
greater responsibility falling upon them. To them my message 
is that after the defeat the Federation may appear like a 
weather worn tree, but it is certainly not dead at the roots. 


(Sd.) 

B. R. Ambedkar * 1 

• • 


* Held in 1946. 

1 : Jai Bheem : dated March 12, 1946. 
Reprinted : Khairmode, Vol. 8, P. 48 


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OUR STUDENT SHOULD LEARN AND LEAD 

A Message by Dr. Ambedkar to 
The All India Scheduled Castes Students, Federation 

Conference 

Nagpur 25-27th Dec. 1946 

The second conference of the ‘All India Scheduled Castes 
Students’ Federation’ was held at Nagpur from 25th to 27th 
December 1946 with the aim of framing the constitution for 
the Federation*. The foundation of this organization was laid 
on 12th May 1945 with the First Conference at Bombay. 

Dr. B. R. Ambedkar had a desire to attend this Conference 
to be held at Nagpur, but due to his prior appointments, he 
could not. However, he advised Mr. Jogendranath Mandal, Law 
Member, Interim Government of India to be the chairperson 
of this students’ conference at Nagpur. 

This Conference was a historic one. It was arranged within a 
very short period. The reception committee was formed on 16th 
December 1946 and the Conference was held between 25th and 
27th Dec. 1946. In spite of this short period there were about 
three thousand boys and five hundred lady student delegates 
from all over India. The other visitors were about thirty 
thousand. The delegates from Bombay, UP, C. P. & Berar, 
Madras, Bengal, Hyderabad and Delhi were accommodated 
at Chokhamela Kanya Shala, New Colony, Nagpur. 

This Conference was held in a spacious ground at 
Kasturchand Park in a nicely decorated pandal. Mr. Jogendranath 
Mandal was the President of the Conference. The huge crowd 
of forty thousand people greeted him at Nagpur Railway 
Station at 6.30 p. m. on 25th Dec. 1946. The ‘guard of honour’ 
was presented by ‘ Samta Saanik Dal’ and ‘National Muslim 
Guards’. He was also welcomed by leaders of Scheduled Castes 
Federation, Muslim League and Government Officials. 


* See Appendix — 1 


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80 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

Message 

“ 2, Western Court, 
New Delhi, 
20-XII-1946. 

My dear Gedam,* 

I am very sorry that owing to my many pre-occupations 
I was not able to write to you earlier. 

I am very glad to know that you have decided to hold a 
session of the All Indian Scheduled Castes Students’ Federation 
separately from the Session of the All India Scheduled Castes 
Federation. It is a wise decision with which I entirely agree. 

I have spoken to the Hon’ble J. N. Mandal. He is coming 
definitely to preside over your Conference. I wish I could come. 
But unfortunately this does not seem possible. I am, however, 
sending my good wishes for the success of the Conference. Our 
boys should learn two things. Firstly, to prove that given the 
opportunities they are inferior to none in intelligence and in 
capacity. Secondly, to prove that they are not merely to tread 
the path of personal happiness but to lead their community 
to be free, to be strong and to be respected. 

If the Conference can inculcate upon the minds of our 
students these two objectives, it will have amply justified its 
existence. I am sure it will. 

With kind regards, 


Yours Sincerely, 

B. R. AMBEDKAR ” * 1 

• • 


* T. V. Gedam, General Secretary, C. P. & Berar Scheduled Castes 
Students’ Federation. 

1 : Chahande V. D. ; Report of the Conference 


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12 

Dr. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR’S MESSAGE 
TO ‘MARATHA MANDIR’ 

I could never have persuaded myself to believe that I was in 
any way qualified to give a message to the Maratha community 
as to what ideals and objectives it should pursue. Since I have 
been pressed by the organizers of the Maratha Mandir to say a 
few words stating my view as to what the Marathas seeking the 
advancement of their community may usefully do, I have agreed 
to respond to their wishes. 

I am convinced that the Marathas-and this applies to every 
Backward Community-must attend to two things-to Politics and 
Education if they wish to avoid suppression. A community can 
keep afloat only if it is able to maintain a controlling influence 
on the State. However a minority community can maintain its 
supremacy in Society by having a controlling influence on the 
State, is well illustrated by the position of the Brahmins in India. 
Controlling influence on the State is essential because without 
it, it is not possible to give a direction to the policy of the State 
and progress depends upon the policy of the State. 

It is equally essential to attend to education. It must, however, 
be borne in mind that what counts in the struggle for position 
between different communities, is not mere education but higher 
education. By higher education I mean education which will 
qualify a Maratha to hold what is a strategic post- a post from 
which he can survey, control and protect persons of his community 
from injustice. Here again the case of the Brahmin community 
is in point. The Brahmin Community is able to maintain itself 
against all odds, against all oppositions, it is due to the fact that 
strategic posts are held by Brahmins. 

That being my view, I must say that Maratha Mandir would 
not be serving the community if it spent its energy on the easier 
tasks of spreading primary education or secondary education. The 
Governments of many Provinces in India have been planning for 
the spread of Primary education and many people in India are 
feeling a sense of satisfaction and even gratitude. I confess that this 
move for the spread of Primary education leaves me cold. Far from 
creating any enthusiasm in me, I look upon it as a snare. I cannot 
forget-I regret that most people are not even aware that the caste 


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system in India, the difference between the high and the low, 
between the Brahmins and the Non-Brahmins has lasted for 
centuries and bids fare to last for many more centuries, it is 
due to the educational disparity between the Brahmins and 
the Non-Brahmins. This disparity is not going to be removed 
by the spread of Primary education. The disparity in social 
position between Brahmin and Non-Brahmin can be removed 
only by adopting a policy of education whereby some Non- 
Brahmins will be so highly educated that they will destroy the 
monopoly of strategic posts which the Brahmins now have. I 
am of opinion that this duty of educating Non-Brahmins upto 
the stage necessary to qualify them for strategic posts, should 
be undertaken by the State. If the State does not do it, the 
Maratha Mandir should. 

There is another point I like to mention. The middle class 
as compared with the aristocracy and the lower classes have 
certain faults which are the faults of that class all over the 
world. The middle class has not the generosity of the aristocracy 
to tolerate the advance of the lower classes. And it does not 
possess the idealism of the lower classes. This makes the middle 
class the enemy of both the classes. It hates the aristocracy 
because of its superior status. It hates the lower classes because 
it does not like it to rise equal to itself. The Maratha are the 
middle class of India and any one who has worked with them, 
will know that they have the faults of the middle class outlined 
above. There are two ways for the Marathas to proceed : one 
to join their superiors and to prevent the lower classes rising 
to the level or to join with the lower classes and destroy to 
those who are the superiors of both. There was a time when 
they joined the lower classes. Recently they have joined the 
higher classes. It is not for me to say which is the right path 
for them to follow. There is no doubt about it that the destiny 
of not only of others but of the Marathas themselves must 
depend upon which of the two roads they will choose. That 
must be left to the wisdom of the Leaders of the Marathas of 
which there appears to be great dearth. 

(Sd.) 

B. R. Ambedkar . 1 

• • 


1 Magazine Maratha Mandir’s special Number, March 23, 1947. 


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NOT TO STOP UNTIL 

THE UNTOUCHABLES RECOVER MANHOOD 

(Dr. Ambedkar’s Message to the Readers of Jai Bheem) 

“ You have asked me to send you a message on my 55th 
birthday for your Special Number. It is an unfortunate fact 
that in India the political leader is placed on the same 
footing as the Prophet. Outside India, people celebrate 
the birthday of their Prophets. It is only in India that the 
birthdays of both Prophets as well as the politicians are 
celebrated. It is a pity that it should be so. Personally, I 
do not like the celebration of my birthday. I am too much 
of a democrat to relish man-worship which I regard as 
perversion of democracy. Admiration, love, regard and 
respect for a leader, if he deserves them, are permissible 
and should be enough for both, the leader and the followers. 
But worship of the leader is certainly not permissible. It 
is demoralising to both. But I suppose this is all beside 
the point. Once a political leader is placed on the same 
footing as the Prophet, he must play the role of the Prophet 
and give a message to his followers in the same way as 
Prophet did. 

What message can I give to the Untouchables ? I 
cannot give them a message but I can tell them a tale 
from Greek Mythology and point out the moral. This 
tale is contained in a Homeric Hymn addressed to the 
Greek Goddess Demeter. This Hymn to Demeter relates 
how the great Goddess, in the course of her wanderings 
in search of her daughter, came to the court of Keleos. 
No one recognised the Goddess under the borrowed form 
of a humble wet-nurse ; and Queen Metoneira entrusted 
to her care her latest born child the infant Demophoon, 
afterwards known as Tripltolemos. 

Every evening, behind closed doors, while the household 
was asleep, Demeter took little Demophoon out of his 
comfortable cradle and with apparent cruelty, though moved in 
reality by a great love and desires of bringing him eventually to 


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the state of Godhood, laid the naked child on a glowing bed 
of embers. The child, Demophoon endures the fiery charcoal, 
he gathers strength from the ordeal. Something Superhuman 
is fostered in him, something robust, something beyond all 
hope glorious. But Metoneira becoming anxious, says the 
legend, burst suddenly one evening into the room where the 
experiment was being carried on and guided by her mistaken 
fears, thrust aside the goddess at her work of foregoing the 
superman, pushed away the embers and took away the child 
with the result that she saved the child but lost the Superman 
and eventual God”. 

What does this tale teach ? To my mind, it teaches that 
greatness can be achieved only by struggle and sacrifice. 
Neither manhood nor Godhood can be obtained without going 
through the ordeal of fire. Fire purifies, fire strengthens, so 
does struggle and suffering. No down-trodden man can achieve 
greatness unless he is prepared for struggle and suffering. 
He must be ready to sacrifice the comforts and even the 
necessities of the present for building up his future. To use 
the language of the Bible for the race of life all are called 
but only few. are chosen. Why ? The reason is obvious. Most 
down-trodden men fail to achieve greatness in this race of life 
because they have not the courage nor the determination to 
sacrifice the pleasures of the present for the needs of their 
future. 

Can there be a better and a greater message than what is 
contained in this legend ? I can find one. It is the best and the 
most appropriate message I can think of for the Untouchables. 
I am aware of their struggle and their sufferings. I am aware 
that in their struggle for liberty they have suffered more than 
I have. With all this, I can give them no other message. My 
message is struggle, and more struggle, sacrifice and more 
sacrifice. It is struggle and struggle alone without counting 
the sacrifices or sufferings that will bring their emancipation. 
Nothing else will. 

The Untouchables must develop a collective will to rise and 
resist and must believe in the sacredness of their task and 
develop a command determination to achieve their goal. Their 


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NOT TO MANHOOD 85 

task is so great and the purpose so noble that as Untouchables 
should join in a prayer and say : 

“Blessed are they who are alive to the duty of raising those 
among whom they are born. Blessed are they who vow to give 
the flower of their days, their strength is of soul and body and 
their mite, to further the campaign of resistance to slavery. 
Blessed are they who resolve-come good, come evil, come 
sunshine, come tempest, come honour, come dishonour - not 
to stop until the Untouchables have fully recovered their 
manhood ”. 1 


• • 


1 : Jai Bheem, Madras, Dr. Ambedkar’s Birthday Special Number, April 
13, 1947. 


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14 

PREFACE TO ‘ THE ESSENCE OF 
BUDDHISM THIRD EDITION 

The author of this book was Prof. P. Lakshmi Narasu. While 
I have great pleasure in introducing this book to the public I 
confess that I had not met the author and known very little 
about his personal life. I have tried to obtain whatever details 
that could be gathered about his personal life and literary 
work. For this purpose, I have found Dr, Pattabhi Sitaramayya 
to be the source. He knew Prof. Narasu personally and was a 
friend of his. I give below the main facts in the life of Prof. 
Narasu as given to me by Dr. Pattabhi. 

Prof. P. Lakshmi Narasu, B.A., was a prodigy of the last 
century. He was a graduate in Physics from the Madras 
Christian College. From being a tutor and demonstrator, he 
rose to the position of an Assistant Professor by 1897 and 
was given full charge of Physics and Chemistry for the B. A. 
classes in 1898-99, during the absence of Prof. Moffatt, the 
permanent Professor of Physics on leave. Prof. Moffatt was a 
raw youth who was appointed to the professorship over the 
head of Prof. Narasu who had already won his distinction in 
Physics in the sphere of wireless telegraphy — which in the 
nineties of the last century as yet in its infant stage of progress. 
During the years 1898 and 1899 Prof. Narasu, as he used to 
be called in those days, was already an Examiner in Physics 
and Chemistry — both for B. A. and M. A. Examinations. 
Prof. Narasu was particularly strong in Dynamics. Once 
when an alteration arose over the correctness of a question 
in Dynamics, Prof. Wilson, a hot-headed Englishman who was 
Professor of Chemistry in the Presidency College, Madras and 
Chairman of the Board of Examiners in Physics and Chemistry, 
questioned the correctness of the view expressed by Prof. 
Narasu regarding some problem in Dynamics. Prof. Narasu took 
up the challenge at once. ‘ Do you want to teach me, Mr. Narasu’ 
asked the arrogant Wilson to which in reply Prof. Narasu 
retorted -after working out the problem — ‘ I am glad I am 
teaching Prof. Wilson something in Dynamics.’ The incident is 
of interest to us fifty years after its occurrence, because it shows 


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PREFACE THIRD EDITION 87 

that Prof. Narasu was an Iconoclast. Prof. Narasu was a Social 
Reformer. He fought caste to the best of his ability and raised 
the standard of Revolt against its tyranny in Hinduism, so 
early as in the nineties of the 18th century. He was a great 
admirer of Buddhism and gave courses of lectures on the 
subject week in and week out. He was highly popular with his 
students over whom he exercised a magical personal influence 
so as to broaden their outlook and widen their visions. His 
sense of self-respect, both personal and national was of a high 
order and he did not stand the arrogance and sense of self- 
superiority of his European colleagues to whom he was always 
ready to give their due in the domain of scholarship but at 
whose hands he would not take insults lying down. 

Prof. Narasu’s eminence as an Educationist did not take long 
to obtain general and widespread recognition and era long he 
was promoted to the Principalship of the Pachiappa’s College. 

Prof. Narasu was a highly public-spirited citizen and took 
active part in the organization of a body known as the ‘ National 
Fund and Industrial Association’ under whose auspices, petty 
donations were being collected with which aid was rendered 
to students who desired to go abroad for advanced technical 
education. Japan was the country which attracted the young 
man of the day and it was their ambition to learn the technique 
of various small industries and manufactures - notably - soap 
making, enamelling and paints manufacture and so on. But 
the Professor’s one sin was social reform and in Buddhism he 
found his solace. He was one of the earliest to discern the evils 
of the caste system, early marriages and prohibition of widow 
marriage and it was then considered in Reform Circles a matter 
for gratification that one of his brothers was a practical Social 
Reformer, having married a widow. That was the era when 
Christian Missionaries were not only countenancing the social 
reform movement but viewed it with high favour as marking a 
half-way house between orthodox Hinduism and conversion to 
Christianity. It did not take long for them to change their views 
and look upon such progressive movements as constituting a 
real hindrance to proselytization. Prof. Narasu was the stalwart 
of the 19th century who had fought European arrogance with 
patriotic fervour, orthodox Hinduism with iconoclastic zeal, 
heterodox Brahmins with nationalistic vision and aggressive 


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88 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

Christianity with a rationalistic outlook - all under the 
inspiring banner of his unflagging faith in the teachings of 
the Great Buddha. 

In recent times many people from different parts of India 
have been asking me to recommend a good book on Buddhism. 
In responding to their wishes, I felt no hesitation in suggesting 
Prof. Narasu’s book. For, I think that it is the best book on 
Buddhism that has appeared so far. Unfortunately, the book 
has been out of print for a long time. I, therefore, decided to 
reprint it so that the desire of those who have an interest 
in the teachings of Buddhism may have in their hand a text 
which is complete in its treatment and lucid in its exposition. I 
must thank the representatives of the old firm of Varadachari 
and Co., Madras, who held the copy right of the original 
publication for permission to reprint the book. 

In writing this foreword to this reprint, it was my intention 
to deal with some of the Criticisms which have been levelled 
against the teachings of Buddha by his adversaries — past 
and present. I have given up that intention for two reasons. 
In the first place, my health will not permit me to engage 
myself in this task. Secondly, I am myself working on a Life 
of Buddha and I think that I could deal with this matter 
better in my own work wherein I could do more justice to it 
than in a foreword to another man’s work. I have taken this 
decision more especially bacause I am sure that the reader 
of Prof. Narasu’s book will not suffer in any way as a result 
of my decision. 


B. R. Ambedkar . * 1 

“RAJ GRAHA,” 

HINDU COLONY, DADAR, 

BOMBAY 14. 

10 th March 1948. 

• • 


(First edition 1907, Second edition 1912) 

1 : Third edition 1948 by Thacker and Co. Ltd, Rampart Row, Bombay. 


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15 

INDIA’S ANCIENT PAST GAVE 
PLACE TO PESSIMISM 

‘ RASHTRA RAKSHA KE VAIDIK SADHAN ’ 

BY SWAMI VEDANANDA TEERTHA 

PREFACE 

I am asked to write a Preface to the booklet by Swami 
Vedananda Teertha. Owing to pressure of work I had 
declined to accede to the request of the author. But as 
he has been insisting on my writing a few words, I have 
agreed to do so. The author’s plea is that free India should 
adopt as its religion the gospel preached by the Vedas 
which is scattered all over the Vedas and which he has 
collected together in one place in this booklet. I do not 
know that the book will become the gospel of new India. 
But I can say that the book is not merely a wonderful 
collection of statements drawn from the Religious Books of 
the ancient Aryans but it brings out in a striking manner 
the vigour of thought and motion which prevailed among 
the ancient Aryans. What the book shows is that there is 
nothing in it of that pessimism among the ancient Aryans 
which dominates the modern Hindus. The work would 
have been of greater value if the author had considered 
why the positivism and optimism of India’s ancient past 
gave place to the pessimism of later days. I hope that 
the author will deal with this problem at some later 
stage. In the meantime it is no small contribution to our 
knowledge that the theory that world is Maya is a new 
invention. It is from this point of view that I commend 
this booklet. 


B. R. Ambedkar 1 

• • 


1 : Swami Vedananda Teertha (1892-1956 ) — Rashtra Raksha Ke VaicLik 
Sadhan — 1948 


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16 

THE MEANING OF THE WORD ‘RECEIPT’ 

The point at issue is the meaning to be given to the word 
receipt occuring in clause (2) of Article 198. Does it mean 
receipt by the Secretariat of the Legislative Council or does it 
mean by receipt by the Legislative Council ? The distinction 
is of course important because it determines the starting 
point of the period of limitation which is fourteen days for 
a money Bill. The matter is referred to the Goverment of 
India for opinion because there is a difference of opinion 
between the R.L.A. and the Advocate General of Bihar, the 
R.L.A. upholding the former interpretation and the Advocate 
General the latter. 

There are three contentions relied upon by the R.L.A. : — 

(1) Clause (2) of Article 198 speaks of ‘Fourteen days 
from the date of its receipt.’ 

(2) There is a difference between the language used in 
clause (2) (b) of Article 197 and that used in clause 
(2) of Article 198. 

(3) The delay that may occur in getting through a money 
Bill if the contention of the Advocate General of Bihar 
was accepted as valid. 

I will deal with these contention seriatum. 

Taking up the first contention of the R.L.A. I find his 
argument is vitiated by his failure to note the following 
points- 

(1) The R.L.A. picks out the words ‘its receipt of the 
Bill’ from clause (2) of Article 198 and builds up his 
argument. He contends that in using the words ‘its 
receipt’ the intention of the Constitution was only 
to provide for a vicarious receipt by the Secretariat 
of the Upper Chamber and not actual receipt by the 
Chamber. But the altogether omits to take into account 
the words ‘transmitted to the Legislative Council for 
its recommendations’ which also occur in clause (2) and 


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THE MEANING ‘RECEIPT’ 91 

which in opinion are the key words of the clause. 
The words ‘its receipt’ by themselves are quite 
unimportant. Their meaning must be derived 
by reading them in conjunction with the words 
‘transmitted to the Legislative Council for its 
recommendation.’ So read they cannot mean receipt 
by the Secretariat. 

(2) The R.L.A. has not taken into consideration the 
provisions of clauses (3) and (4). He relied upon 
clause (5) to justify the result. But he forgets that 
clause (5) becomes operative only when the steps laid 
out in clauses (3) and (4) of Article 198 have been 
gone through by the Legislative Council. Clauses (3) 
and (4) require that the Council has been in Session 
and has had an opportunity to consider the Bill. 

The rule of construction adopted by the R.L.A. is not a 
sound rule of construction. The correct rule relevant 
to the issue is the rule known as ex vicerius actus. 
It has the authority of no less a person than Coke. 
Says Coke: “The office of a good expositor of an Act 
of Parliament is to make construction on all the parts 

together, and not of one part only by itself 

It is the most natural and genuine exposition of a 
Statute to construe one part of a Statute by another 
of the same Statute, for the best expresseth the 
meaning of the makers ” (Quoted in Craie’s, P. 95). 

The Second contention of the R.L.A. is founded 
on difference in the language in clause (2) (b) of 
Article 197 and clause (2) of Article 198. It is true 
that difference in language exists. It is also true 
that difference in language can be relied upon by 
interested parties as an argument in support of 
the contention that the intentions in two cases are 
different. As against the argument of the R.L.A. I 
wish to urge the following considerations— 

The original language of clause (2) (b) of Article 197 
was the same as that of clause (2) of Article 198. 
Altogether four drafts of Article 197 were presented to 


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92 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

the Constituent Assembly. In the first three the 
language was the same as in Article 198. I have 
ascertained these facts from the records of the 
Constituent Assembly. In these circumstances various 
questions arise. Why was the language of Article 198 
not changed when the language of Article 197 was 
changed ? What was the reason for changing the 
language of article 197 (2) (b) ? Was the language 
changed because the original intenion underlying 
Article 197 (2) (b) was changed ? Or was it because 
the intention was the same but it was fell that the 
new language expressed the same old and original 
intention better ? Is it difficult to give any definite 
answer to these questions? As far as my recollection 
goes we changed the language of Article 197 not 
because we changed our original intention but because 
it was felt that the changed language expressed our 
original intention better. In any case the argument 
based on difference in language is not at all decisive. 

I realize that for a pedant this may not dispose of the 
argument based on difference of language. For it is possible 
to turn back and say if your intention in Article 198 was 
the same as in 197 (2) (b) why did you not follow suit and 
change its language when you changed the language of 
Article 197 (2) (b) and bring it in line ? To this argument 
my reply is very simple. It is wrong to argue that in every 
case difference of language means difference of intentions. 
For it is a well accepted proposition that the intention may 
be the same though it is experssed in different words. In 
this connection I would like to quote the following extract 
from Craie’s on Statute Law : 

“But although, as has been said, this presumption is 
generally to be made, and “it is certainly to be wished”, 
as the Judicial Committee said in Casement v. Fulton (i), 

“that, in framing statutes, the same words should always 
be employed in the same sense”; still, there are many 
instances to be found of the Legislature departing from 
language previously used for the purpose of conveying a 


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certain meaning without intending to depart from that 
meaning. “When the Legislature,” said Blackburn, J., in R. 

V. Buttle (k), “change the words of an enactment, no doubt 
it must be taken prima facie that there was an intention to 
change the meaning.” This, however is not necessarily so, for 
we find, as a matter of fact, that, as Blackburn, J. observed 
in Hadley v. Perks (1), “in drawing Acts of Parliament, the 
Legislature, as it would seem, to improve the graces of the 
style, and to avoid using the same words over and over 
again, constantly change” the words without intending to 
change the meaning. Thus, in Re Wright (m), Mellish, L.J., 
said, with regard to the departure in the Bankruptcy Act, 

1869, from the language used in the repealed Bankruptcy 
Act, 1849; “Every one who is familiar with the present Act 
knows that the language of the former Acts has been very 
much altered in many cases where it could not have been 
intended to make any change in the law.” In Actt.-Gen. V. 
Bradlaugh (n), it was contended that the word “made” in the 
expression in the Parliamentary Oaths Act, 1866, “the oath 
shall be made,” was to be construed as if it were different 
from the word “taken”. “But,” said Brett, M. R., “it seems to 
me, looking at the Preamble, and at the manner in which 
the word is used, that the word ‘made’ has precisely the 
same effect as if it were “taken”. 

In Monteith v. McGavin (o), Lord Cottenham said 
that “when Parliament provides for a particular mode 
of proceeding in one particular case, and makes no such 
provision in another case, it must not, as a general 
rule, be assumed that this arises from mere negligence 
or inattention in the framers of the Act.” But, as Brett 
M. R. said in Nottage v. Jackson (p), “persons who draw 
Acts of Parliament will sometimes use phrases that 
nobody else uses; consequently we do sometimes meet 
with expressions in statutes which we are compelled to 
believe were introduced, not for any specific purpose, but 
in consequence of the slovenliness of the draftsman.” Thus, 
in R. v. Buttle (q), the question was whether, when 26 & 
28 Viet. c. 29, s. 7, enacted that “no statement made by 


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94 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

any person in answer to any question put by [certain] 
commissioners shall, except in cases of indictments for perjury, 
be admissible in evidence in any proceeding,” the expression 
“indictments for perjury” applied to perjury in general, or only 
to perjury committed before the commissioners. It appeared 
that a previous statute has contained a similar provision, but 
that the expression used in that statute was “indictments 
for perjury committed in such answers”; consequently it was 
argued that the Legislature intended a change of meaning by 
this change of words. It was held, however that to put upon 
the expression used in the later statute the meaning contended 
for would be subversive of one of the most important principles 
of the common law, and that it must be supposed, therefore, 
that there was no reason at all for altering the language used 
by the earlier statute, and that, as Kelly, C. B., said, “whoever 
framed the statute did it in a slovenly way, and showed great 
want of care in drawing it.” So also, if it appears that the 
older statute contains words of surplusage, these words may 
very well be left out in subsequent Act without there being 
any intention on the part of the Legislature to alter the 
law. “It appears to me,” said Mellish, L. J., in Re Wood (r) 
“that the framers of this [ later ] Act thought it would be an 
improvement to omit words as to intent in the cases where it 
was not necessary to prove such an intent, the words being 
then surplusage and misleading; and I think they may have 
very properly left out without in any way altering the law.” 

With regard to his third contention I must say that I am not 
at all impressed by it. There are two causes of delay that may be 
apprehended. Delay is caused by the Council though in Session 
and in receipt of the Bill. Delay is caused by the Council not 
being in Session when the Bill is transmitted. No delay beyond 
fourteen days can take place at the hands of the Council nor 
can any harm be done to the Assembly if it does take place. For 
there is a penalty for it and which is provided for in clause (5). 
Delay following upon the Council not being in session at the 
time when the Bill is transmitted cannot be due to any fault 
of the Council. It is those who are responsible to advise the 
Governor to call a Session of the Council are responsible for 
such delay. If they wish to get the benefit of clause (5) they 
should call the Session of the Council immediately and give 
it fourteen days and avoid delay. It is in their power. But 


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THE MEANING ‘RECEIPT’ 95 

they cannot have it both ways. To permit them the discretion 
to call or not to call the session of the Council and at the 
same time to allow them to take the benefit of clause (5) is 
not only to give them the freedom to cheat one House of the 
Legislature but to play a fraud upon the Constitution. This is 
exactly what the Bihar Government has done. When a money 
Bill is transmitted to the Upper Chamber it is the duty of the 
Government to call a Session of the Council and it is a matter 
which is entirely and exclusively with its power. If it does not 
do so it cannot take advantage of clause (5) of Article 198. 

For these reasons I agree with the view taken by the 
learned Advocate General of Bihar and reject the view of the 
learned R.L.A. 

I have dwealt with the arguments of the R.L.A. at such a 
considerable length only out of respect for him. Otherwise I 
would have summarily rejected it. The point to my mind is not 
at all abstruse. It is so plain that a man having nothing more 
than common-sense could have understood that the intention 
of the framers of the Constitution was. What the Government 
of Bihar has done is a deliberate and calculated act of fraud. 
I refuse to believe that what it has done is done out of want 
of understanding. I cannot help saying that the Government 
of Bihar has descended to the low level of a common cheat. 
I feel so strongly about it that I do not mind my sentiments 
in this respect being conveyed to the Bihar Government. 

Before I conclude I would like to raise a question which is 
solely for the consideration of the Law Department. We are 
getting a large number of references from State Government for 
advice on disputed points arising out of the Constitution. We 
entertain these references and give our advice. That advice is 
followed and becomes part of the Constitutional usage. I wonder 
if we are acting wisely in doing this. Would it not be better to 
leave the parties to act as they think and take their chance 
in Court ? For as pointed out by Craie’s (Statute Law, p. 140) 
usage becomes an important element in the interpretation 
of a Statute. By our advice we set up a usage and thereby 
support a particular interpretation which in the absence of it 
may not be supportable and if our advice is wrong we become 


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96 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

responsible for a wrong interpretation. Perhaps the practice 
is a long standing practice and I realize that it is difficult to 
discontinue it. All the same it is well to remember the length 
to which our responsibility in these matters does go. 

B. R. Ambedkar 

• • 


As regard to this article, the then officer on special Duty, Dr. Babasaheb 
Ambedkar Source Material Publications Commitee, noted that the 
papers were found in the record received by the Government from the 
Administrator General, Maharashtra State in 1979. This note is signed 
by Dr. Ambedkar. 


— Editors. 


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17 

BUDDHA AND FUTURE OF HIS RELIGION 

I 

Out of the many founders of Religion, there are four whose 
religions have not only moved the world in the past, but are 
still having a sway over the vast masses of people. They are 
Buddha, Jesus, Mahommed and Krishna. A comparison of 
the presonalities of these four and the poses they assumed in 
propagating their religions reveals certain points of contrast 
between the Buddha on the one hand and the rest on the 
other, which are not without significance. 

The first point which mark off Buddha from the rest is 
his self-abnegation. All throughout the Bible, Jesus insists 
that he is the Son of God and that those who wish to enter 
the kingdom of God will fail, if they do not recognise him as 
the Son of God. Mahommed went a step further. Like Jesus 
he also claimed that he was the messenger of God on earth. 
But he further insisted that he was the last messenger. On 
that footing he declared that those who wanted salvation 
must not only accept that he was a messenger of God, but 
also accept that he was the last messenger. Krishna went 
a step beyond both Jesus and Mahommed. He refused to 
be satisfied with merely being the Son of the God or being 
the messenger of God; he was not content even with being 
the last messenger of God. He was not even satisfied with 
calling himself a God. He claimed that he was ‘Parameshwar’ 
or as his followers describe him “ Devadhideva ” God of Gods. 
Buddha never arrogated to himself any such status. He was 
born as a son of man and was content to remain a common 
man and preached his gospel as a common man. He never 
claimed any supernatural origin or supernatural powers nor 
did he perform miracles to prove his supernatural powers. 
The Buddha made a clear distinction between a Margadata 
and a Mokshadata. Jesus, Mahommed and Krishna claimed 
for themselves the Mokshadata. The Buddha was satisfied 
with playing the role of a Margadata. 


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There is also another distinction between the four religious 
teachers. Both Jesus and Mohammed claimed that what they 
taught was the word of God and as a word of God what 
they taught was infallible and beyond question. Krishna was 
according to his own assumption a God of Gods and therefore 
what he taught being a word of God, uttered by God, they 
were original and final and the question of infallibility did not 
even arise. The Buddha claimed no such infallibility for what 
he taught. In the Mahaparinibbana Sutta He told Ananda 
that His religion was based on reason and experience and 
that his followers should not accept his teaching as correct 
and binding merely because they emanated from Him. Being 
based on reason and experience they were free to modify or 
even to abandon any of his teachings if it was found that at 
a given time and in given circumstances they do not apply. 
He wished, His religion not to be encumbered with the dead 
wood of the past. He wanted that it should remain evergreen 
and serviceable at all times. That is why He gave liberty to 
His followeres to chip and chop as the necessities of the case 
required. No other religious teacher has shown such courage. 
They were afraid of permitting repair. As the liberty to repair 
may be used to demolish the structure they had reared. 
Buddha had no such fear. He was sure of his foundation. He 
knew that even the most violent iconoclast will not be able 
to destroy the core of His religion. 

II 

Such is the unique position of Buddha. What about his 
religion ? How does it compare with those founded by his rivals ? 

Let us first compare Buddhism with Hinduism. In the 
short space available the comparison must be limited to a few 
important points indeed only to two. 

Hinduism is a religion which is not founded on morality. 
Whatever morality Hinduism has it is not an integral part of 
it. It is not imbeded in religion. It is a separate force which 
is sustained by social necessities and not by injunction of 
Hindu religion. The religion of the Buddha is morality. It is 
imbeded in religion. Buddhist religion is nothing if no morality. 
It is true that in Buddhism there is no God. In place of God 
there is morality. What God is to other religions morality is 
to Buddhism. 


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BUDDHA HIS RELIGION 99 

It is very seldom recognised that He propounded a most 
revolutionary meaning of the word “Dhamma”. The Vedic 
meaning of the word “Dharma” did not connote morality in 
any sense of the word. The Dharma as enunciated by the 
Brahmins and as propounded in the Purvamimansa of Jamini 
meant nothing more than the performances of certain karmas 
or to use terminology of the Roman religion observances. 
Dharma to Brahmins meant keeping up of observances, i.e. 
Yagans, Yagas and sacrifices to Gods. This was the essence 
of the Brahmanic or Vedic Religion. It had nothing to do 
with morality. 

The word Dhamma as used by the Buddha, had nothing 
to do with rituals or observances. In fact he repudiated the 
Yagas and Yagnas as being essence of religion. In place of 
Karma he substituted morality as the essence of Dhamma. 
Although the word Dhamma was used by Brahmanic teachers 
as well as by the Buddha, the content of both is radically 
and fundamentally different. In fact, it might be stated that 
the Buddha was the first teacher in the world who made 
morality the essence and foundation of religion. Even Krishna 
as may be seen from Bhagvat Geeta was not able to extricate 
himself from the old conception of religion being equivalent of 
rituals and observances. Many people seem to be lured by the 
doctrine of Nishkam Karma other wise called Anasaktiyoga 
preached by Krishna in the Bhagvat Geeta. It is taken to 
mean in Boyscout sense of doing good without the expectation 
of reward. This interpretation of the Nishkam Karma is a 
complete misunderstanding of what it really means. The word 
Karma in the phrase Nishkam Karma does not mean, action 
in the generic sense of the word Kanna meaning ‘deed’. It is 
used in its original sense in which it is used by the Brahmins 
and Jamini. On the point of observances there is only one 
point of difference between Jamini and the Bhagvat Geeta. 
The observance which used to be performed by the Brahmins 
fell into two classes : 

(t) Nitya Karmas and 
(. ii ) Naimitika Kaunas 

The Nitya Karmas were observances which were enjoined 
to be performed regularly for which reasons they were 


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100 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

called Nitya and as a matter of religious duty, for which there 
was not to be any expectation of reward. On that account 
they were also called Nishkam Karmas. The other category 
of Karmas was called Naimitika that is to say they were 
performed whenever there was occasion, that is, whenever 
there was a desire to perform them and they were called 
Kamya Karmas because from their performance some benefit 
was expected to come. What Krishna condemned in the Bhagvat 
Geeta was Kamya Karmas. He did not condemn Nishkama 
Karmas. On the other hand he extolled them. The point to 
be borne in mind is, even for Krishna religion did not consist 
of morality. It consisted of Yagnas and Yagas through of the 
Nishkama Karmas category. 

This is one point of contrast between Hinduism and 
Buddhism. The second point of contrast lies in the fact that 
the official gospel of Hinduism is inequality. The doctrine 
of Chaturvarna is the concrete embodiment of this gospel 
of inequality. On the other hand Buddha stood for equality. 
He was the greatest opponent of Chaturvarna. He not only 
preached against it, fought against it, but did everything 
to uproot it. According to Hinduism neither a Shudra nor 
a woman could become a teacher of religion nor could they 
take Sannyasa and reach God. Buddha on the other hand 
admitted Shudras to the Bhikkhu Sangha. He also admitted 
women to become Bhikkhunis. Why did he do so? Few people 
seem to realise the importance of this step. The answer is 
that Buddha wanted to take concrete steps to destroy the 
gospel of inequality. Hinduism had to make many changes 
in its doctrines as a result of an attack made by Buddha. It 
gave up Himsa. It was prepared to give up the doctrine of 
the infallibility of the Vedas. On the point of Chaturvarna 
neither side was prepared to yield. Buddha was not prepared 
to give up his opposition to the doctrine of Chaturvarna, 
That is the reason why Brahmanism has so much more 
hatred and antagonism against Buddhism than it has against 
Jainism. Hinduism has to recognise the force of the Buddha’s 
arguments against Chaturvarna. But instead of yielding to its 
logic Hinduism developed a new philosophic justification for 
Chaturvarna. This new philosophic justification is to be found 
in the Bhagvat Geeta. Nobody is able to say for certain what the 


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BUDDHA HIS RELIGION 101 

Bhagvat Geeta teaches. But this much is beyond question that 
the Bhagvat Geeta upholds the doctrine of Chaturvarna. In fact 
it appears that this was the main purpose for which it was 
written. And how does the Bhagvat Geeta justify it ? Krishna 
says that he as God created the system of Chaturvarna and 
he constructed it on the basis of the theory of Guna - Karma- 
which means that he prescribed the status and occupation 
of every individual in accordance with his innate gunas (or 
qualities). Two things are clear. One is that this theory is new. 
The old theory was different. According to the old theory the 
foundation of Chaturvarna was the authority of the Vedas. As 
the Vedas were infallible so was the system of Chaturvarna on 
which it rested. The attack of the Buddha on the infallibility 
of the Vedas had destroyed the validity of this old foundation 
of Chaturvarna. It is quite natural that Hinduism which was 
not prepared to give up Chaturvarna and which it regarded as 
its very soul should attempt to find for it a better foundation 
which the Bhagvat Geeta proposes to do. But how good 
is this new justification given by Krishna in the Bhagvat 
Geeta ? To most Hindus it appears to be quite convincing, so 
convincing that they believe it to be irrefutable. Even to many 
non-Hindus it appears to be very plausible, very enticing. If 
the Chaturvarna had depended only on the authority of the 
Vedas I am sure it would have long disappeared. It is the 
mischievous and false doctrine of the Bhagvat Geeta which 
has given this Chaturvarna- which is the parent of the caste- 
system-apparently a perpetual loss of life. The basic conception 
of this new doctrine is taken from the Sankhya philosophy. 
There is nothing original about it. The originality of Krishna 
lies in applying it to justify Chaturvarna. It is in its application 
that the fallacy lies, Kapila, the author of the Sankhya system 
held that there is no God, that God is necessary only because 
matter is believed to be dead. But matter is not dead. It is 
active. Matter consists of three Gunas : Raj, Tamas and Satva. 
Prakriti appears to be dead only because the three gunas 
are in an equilibrium. When the equilibrium is disturbed 
by one of the gunas becoming dominant over the other two, 
Prakriti becomes active. This is the sum and subtance of the 
Sankhya philosophy. There can be no quarrel with this theory. 
It is perhaps true. It may therefore be granted that each 


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102 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

individual as a form of Prakriti is made up of the three gunas. 
It may even be granted that among the three gunas there is a 
competition for dominance of one over the other. But how could 
it be granted that a particular guna in a particular individual 
which at one time — say at the time of his birth-happens to 
dominate his other gunas will continue to dominate them for 
all times, till his death? There is no ground for this assumption 
either in the Sankhya philosophy or in actual experience. 
Unfortunately neither Hitler nor Mussolini were born when 
Krishna propounded his theory. Krishna would have found 
considerable difficulty in explaining how a signboard painter 
and a bricklayer could become dictators capable of dominating 
the world. The point of the matter is that the Prakriti of an 
individual is always changing because the relative position of 
the gunas is always changing. If the gunas are ever changing in 
their relative position of dominance there can be no permanent 
and fixed system of classification of men into varnas and no 
permanent and fixed assignment of occupations. The whole 
theory of the Bhagvat Geeta therefore falls to the ground. 
But as I have said the Hindus have become infatuated by its 
plausibility and its “good look” and have become slaves of it. 
The result is that Hinduism continues to uphold the Varna 
system with its gospel of social inequality. These are two of 
the evils of Hinduism from which Buddhism is free. 

Ill 

Some of those, who believe that only the acceptance of the 
Gospel of Buddha can save the Hindus are filled with sorrow, 
because they do not see much prospect of the return or revival 
of Buddhism in India. I do not share this pessimism. 

In the matter of their attitude to their religion, Hindus today 
fall into two classes. There are those who hold that, ‘all religions 
are true including Hindu’ and the leaders of other religions 
seem to join them in this slogan. There cannot be a thesis more 
false than the thesis that all religions are true. However this 
slogan gives the Hindus, who have raised it, the support of the 
followers of other religions. There are Hindus who have come 
to realize that there is something wrong with their religion, the 
only thing is that they are not ready to denounce it openly. This 


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BUDDHA HIS RELIGION 103 

attitude is understandable. Religion is a part of one’s social in- 
heritance. One’s life and dignity and pride are bound up with 
it. It is not easy to abandon one’s religion. Patriotism comes 
in “My country” right or wrong. “My religion” right or wrong. 
Instead of abandoning it the Hindus are finding escape in 
other ways. Some are consoling themselves with the thought 
that all religions are wrong, so why bother about religion 
at all. The same feeling of patriotism prevents them from 
openly embracing Buddhism. Such an attitude can have only 
one result. Hinduism will lapse and cease to be a force of 
governing life. There will be void, which will have the effect 
of disintegrating the Hindu Society. Hindus then will be forced 
to take a more positive attitude. When they do so, they can 
turn to nothing except Buddhism. 

This is not the only ray of hope, there are hopes coming 
from other quarters also. 

There is one question which every religion must answer. 
What mental and moral relief does it bring to the suppressed 
and the downtroddon ? If it does not, then it is doomed. Does 
Hinduism give any mental and moral relief to the millions 
of Backward Classes and the Scheduled Castes ? It does not. 
Do Hindus expect these Backward Classes and the Scheduled 
Castes to live under Hinduism which gives them no promise 
of mental and moral relief? Such an expectation would be 
an utter futility. Hinduism is floating on a volcano. To-day 
it appears to be extinct. But it is not. It will become active 
once these mighty millions have become conscious of their 
degradation and know that it is largely due to the social 
philosophy of the Hindu religion. One is reminded of the 
overthrow of Paganism by Christianity in the Roman Empire. 
When the masses realized that Paganism could give them 
no mental and moral relief they gave it up and adopted 
Christianity. What happened in Rome is sure to happen in 
India. The Hindu masses when they are enlightened are sure 
to turn to Buddhism. 

IV 

So much by way of comparison between Hinduism and 
Buddhism, how does Buddhism, and in comparison with other 
non-Hindu Religions? It is impossible to take each of these 
non-Hindu Religions and compare with Buddhism, in detail. 


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All I can do is to put my conclusions in a summary form. I 
maintain that: — 

(i) That society must have either the sanction of law or 
the sanction of morality to hold it together. Without 
either, society is sure to go to pieces. 

In all societies, law plays a very small part. It is intended 
to keep the minority within the range of social discipline. 
The majority is left and has to be left to sustain its 
social life by the postulates and sanction of morality. 
Religion in the sense of morality, must therefore, remain 
the governing principle in every society. 

(ii) That religion as defined in the first proposition must 
be in accord with science. Religion is bound to lose its 
respect and therefore becomes the subject of ridicule 
and thereby not merely loses its force as a governing 
principle of life, but might in course of time disintegrate 
and lapse, if it is not in accord with science. In other 
words, religion if it is to function, must be in accord 
with reason which is merely another name for science. 

(iii) That religion as a code of social morality, must also 
stand together another test. It is not enough for religion 
to consist of a moral code, but its moral code must 
recognise the fundamental tenets of liberty, equality 
and fraternity. Unless a religion recognises these three 
fundamental principles of social life, religion will be 
doomed. 

(iv) That religion must not sanctify or ennoble poverty. 
Renunciation of riches by those who have it, may be 
a blessed state, but poverty can never be. To declare 
poverty to be a blessed state is to pervert religion, to 
perpetuate vice and crime, to consent to make earth a 
living hell. 

Which religion fulfils these requirements ? In considering 
this question it must be remembered that the days of the 
Mahatmas are gone and the world cannot have a new Religion. 
It will have to make its choice from those that exist. The 
question must therefore be confined to existing religions. 

It may be that one of the existing religions satisfies one of 
these tests, some two. Question is — Is there any religion which 


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BUDDHA HIS RELIGION 105 

satisfies all these tests ? So far as I know, the only religion 
which satisfies all these tests is Buddhism. In other words 
Buddhism is the only religion which world can have. If the 
new world — which be it realised is very different from the 
old-must have a religion — and the new world needs religion 
far more than the old world did — then it can only be religion 
of the Buddha. 

All this may sound very strange. This is because most of 
those who have written about Buddha have propagated the 
idea that the only thing Buddha taught was Ahimsa. This is 
a great mistake. It is true Buddha taught Ahimsa. I do not 
want to minimise its importance. For it is a great doctrine. 
The world cannot be saved unless it follows it. What I wish to 
emphasize is that Buddha taught many other things besides 
Ahimsa. He taught as part of his religion, social freedom, 
intellectual freedom, economic freedom and political freedom. 
He taught equality, equality not between man and man only, 
but between man and woman. It would be difficult to find a 
religious teacher to compare with Buddha, whose teachings 
embrace so many aspects of the social life of people, whose 
doctrines are so modern and with main concern to give 
salvation to man in his life on earth and not to promise it 
in heaven after he is dead! 

V 

How could this ideal of spreading Buddhism be realised ? 
Three steps appear to be quite necessary. 

First : To produce a Buddhist Bible. 

Second : To make changes in the organisation, aims and 

objects of the Bhikkhu Sangha. 

Third : To set up a world Buddhist Mission. 

The production of a Bible of Buddhism is the first and 
foremost need. The Buddhist literature is a vast literature. It is 
impossible to expect a person who wants to know the essence of 
Buddhism to wade through the sea of literature. The greatest 
advantage which the other religions have over Buddhism is that 
each has a gospel which every one can carry with him and read 
wherever he goes. It is a handy thing. Buddhism suffers for not 


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106 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

having such a handy gospel. The Indian Dhammapada has 
failed to perform the function which a gospel is expected 
to. Every great religion has been built on faith. But faith 
cannot be assimilated if presented in the form of creeds and 
abstract dogmas. It needs something on which the imagination 
can fasten — some myth or epic or gospel — what is called in 
journalism, a story. The Dhammapada is not fastened around 
a story. It seeks to build faith on abstract dogmas. 

The proposed gospel of Buddhism should contain (i) a short 
life of Buddha (ii) The Chinese Dhammapada (iii) Some of the 
important Dialogues of Buddha and (iv) Buddhist Ceremonies, 
birth, initiation, marriage and death. In preparing such a gospel 
the linguistic side of it must not be neglected. It must make 
the language in which it is produced live. It must become an 
incantation instead of being read as narrative or an ethical 
exposition. Its style must be lucid, moving and must produce 
an hypnotic effect. 

There is a world’s difference between a Hindu Sannyasi 
and a Buddhist Bhikkhu. A Hindu Sanyasi has nothing to 
do with the world. He is dead to the world. A Bhikkhu has 
everything to do with the world. That being so the question 
arises, what was the purpose for which the Buddha thought 
of establishing the Bhikkhu Sangha ? What was the necessity 
for creating a separate society of Bhikkhus ? One purpose 
was to set up a society which would live up to the Buddhist 
idea embodied in the principles of Buddhism and serve as a 
model to the laymen. Buddha knew that it was not possible 
for a common man to realize the Buddhist ideal. But He 
also wanted that the common man should know what the 
ideal was and also wanted there should be placed before the 
common man a society of men who were bound to practise 
His ideals. That is why He created the Bhikkhu Sangha and 
bound it down by the rules of Vinaya. But there were other 
purposes which He had in his mind when He thought of 
founding the Sangha. One such purpose was to create a body 
of intellectuals to give the laymen true and impartial guidance. 
That is the reason why He prohibited the Bhikkhus from 
owning property. Ownership of property is one of the greatest 
obstacles in free thinking and application of free thought. 


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The other purpose of Buddha in founding the Bhikkhu Sangha 
was to create a society the members of which would be free 
to do service to the people. That is why He did not want the 
Bhikkhus to marry. 

Is the Bhikkhu Sangha of today living up to these ideals ? 

The answer is emphatically in the negative. It neither 
guides the people nor does it serve them. 

The Bhikkhu Sangha in its present condition can therefore 
be of no use for the spread of Buddhism. In the first place 
there are too many Bhikkhus. Of these a very large majority 
are merely Sadhus and Sanyasis spending their time in 
meditation or idleness. There is in them neither learning nor 
service. When the idea of service to suffering humanity comes 
to one’s mind every one thinks of the Ramakrishna Mission. 
No one thinks of the Buddhist Sangha. Who should regard 
service as its pious duty the Sangha or the Mission? There 
can be no doubt about the answer. Yet the Sangha is a huge 
army of idlers. We want fewer Bhikkhus and we want Bhikkhus 
highly educated, Bhikkhu Sangha must borrow some of the 
features of the Christian priesthood particularly the Jesuists. 
Christianity has spread in Asia through service — educational 
and medical. This is possible because the Christian priest 
is not merely versed in religious lore but because he is also 
versed in Arts and Science. This was really the ideal of the 
Bhikkhus of olden times. As is well known the Universities 
of Nalanda and Taxila were run and manned by Bhikkhus. 
Evidently they must have been very learned men and knew 
that social service was essential for the propagation of their 
faith. The Bhikkhus of today must return to the old ideal. 
The Sangha as is composed cannot render this service to the 
laity and cannot therefore attract people to itself. 

Without a Mission Buddhism can hardly spread. As 
education requires to be given, religion requires to be 
propagated. Propagation cannot be undertaken without men 
and money. Who can supply these ? Obviously the countries 
where Buddhism is a living religion. It is these countries which 
must find the men and money at least in its initial stages. 
Will these ? There does not seem to be much enthusiasm in 
these countries for the spread of Buddhism. 


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108 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

On the other hand time seems quite propitious for the 
spread of Buddhism. There was a time when religion was part 
of one’s own inheritance. At one time a boy or a girl inherited 
the religion of his or her parent alongwith the property of the 
parent. There was no question of examining the merit and 
virtues of religion. Sometimes the heir did question, whether 
the property left by the parents was worth taking. But no 
heir was there to question whether the religion of his or her 
parents was worth having. Time seems to have changed. Many 
person throughout the world have exhibited an unprecedent 
piece of courage with regard to inheritance of their religion. 
Many have, as a result of the influence of scientific enquiry, 
come to the conclusion that religion is an error, which ought to 
be given up. There are others who, as a result of the Marxian 
teaching, have come to the conclusion that religion is opium 
which induces the poor people to submit to the domination of 
the rich and should be discarded. Whatever be the causes, the 
fact remains, that people have developed an inquiring mind 
in respect of religion. And the question whether religion is 
at all worth having and if so which religion is worth having, 
are questions which are uppermost in the minds of those 
who dare to think about this subject. Time has come, what 
is wanted is will. If the countries which are Buddhist can 
develop the will to spread Buddhism the task of spreading 
Buddhism will not be difficult. They must realize that the 
duty of a Buddhist is not merely to be a good Buddhist, his 
duty is to spread Buddhism. They must believe that to spread 
Buddhism is to serve mankind . 1 


• • 


1 : Magazine ‘Maha Bodhi’: Maha Bodhi Society Journal, Culculta ; Vaishak 
Number, Vol. 58, May 1950. 


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18 

THE RISE AND FALL OF THE HINDU WOMAN : 
WHO WAS RESPONSIBLE FOR IT ? 

In the journal of the Maha Bodhi for March 1950 there 
appeared an article on “The Position of Women in Hinduism 
and Buddhism” *by Lama Govinda. His article was a rejoinder 
to an article which had appeared in Eve’s Weekly of January 
21, 1950, and in which the Buddha was charged as being 
the man whose teachings were mainly responsible for the 
downfall of women in India. Lama Govinda did his duty as 
every Buddhist must in coming forward to refute the charge. 
But the matter cannot be allowed to rest there. This is not 
the first time such a charge is made against the Buddha. 
It is often made by interested parties who cannot bear his 
greatness, and comes from quarters weightier in authority 
than the writer an Eve’s Weekly can claim. It is, therefore, 
necessary to go to the root of the matter and examine the 
very foundation of this oft repeated charge. The charge is so 
grave and so vile that the readers of the Maha Bodhi will, I 
am sure, welcome further examination of it. 

Such a charge against the Buddha can be supported on 
two grounds only - 

The first possible ground may be the reply which the 
Buddha is reported (in Chapter V - Mahaparinibbana Sutta) 
to have given to a question put to him by Ananda. It reads 
as follows : 

“9. How are we to conduct ourselves, (asked Ananda) 
with regard to womankind ? 

As not seeing them, Ananda. 

But if we should see them, 
what are we to do ? 

Not talking, Ananda. 

But if they should speak to us, 

Lord, what are we to do ? 

Keep wide awake, Ananda.” 


* See Appendix — II. 


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110 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

There is no denying that the passage in question is 
to be found in the text of the Mahaparinibbana Sutta 
as published by the Oxford University Press. The point, 
however, is not whether the passage exists or not. The 
point is that if any argument is to be built upon this 
passage, is it not necessary to prove that the text is 
original and genuine and not a latter interpolation by 
the Bhikkhus ? 

Any one who knows the central teachings of the Buddha 
is quite bewildered after reading the Sutta Pitaka as 
we find it now wrapped about by the mythical drapery, 
disfigured by additions of purely Brahmanic ideas entirely 
foreign to the original Buddhist thought and distorted 
by the twists and turns given to it by monastic ideas 
intended to enforce monastic ideals. So much so that one 
is inclined to join in wonder with Mrs. Rhys Davids 1 , 
and ask 

“Where in these pages of (the Sutta Pitaka) is Gotama? 

How much of them, how little, is a blend of (it may be) 
original saying clearly or confusedly reproduced, of fillings 
by ages of successive narrators, of memory-schemes drawn 
up by teachers, not teachers of the multitude but of orally 
learning pupils, of efforts, often clumsy, by editors to set 
down in writing much that had long been more fluently 
told ? And all of them, narrators, teachers, editors, were men 
whose choice of ideals of life differed from that of the rest 
of the world, differed the more in proportion as they were 
sincerely not of the world as well as not in it. Through this 
distorting medium he has to read, and ask himself which 
sayings, put into the mouth of a certain accredited ‘teacher 
and way-shower” of truth, are likely to have come from such 
a man as he is recorded to have been ?” 

There is therefore nothing very extravagant in the 
suggestion that this passage is a later interpolation 
by the Bhikkhus. In the first place the Sutta Pitaka 
was not reduced to writing till 400 years had 
passed after the death of the Buddha. Secondly, the 
Editors who compiled and edited them were Monks 


1 : Preface (xiii) to Kindred Sayings, Vol. II. 


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THE RISE FOR IT ? Ill 

and the Monk Editors compiled and wrote for the Monk. 
The statement attributed to the Buddha is valuable for a 
Monk to preserve his rule of celibacy and it is not unlikely 
for the Monk Editor to interpolate such a rule. 

There are two other considerations which go to support 
the suggestion that this passage is a later interpolation. 

(1) Firstly, from the Table given in the introduction 
to this Sutta (to be found on page 72 of the Digha 
Nikaya, part II, in the S.B.B. Series, by Davids ) it will 
be noticed that great many of the passages which occur 
in this Sutta also occur in other Suttas. It is important 
to note that this passage does not occur in any other 
Sutta notwithstanding the fact that they contain so 
many other passages from this Sutta. 

(2) Secondly, from page XXXVIII of the introduction 
to this Sutta (published in Vol. XI of the S.B.E. by 
Davids) it appears that there exists a Chinese version of 
this Sutta. But this Chinese text also does not contain 
this particular passage. 

Let us go further and apply the test of probability. Was 
there any reason why Ananda should have asked such 
a question? Was it in keeping with the known relations 
of Buddha with women ? There is evidence to show that 
such a question could not have been asked by Ananda and 
that if such a question had been asked, the Buddha could 
not have given such a reply. The conduct of Ananda and 
of the Buddha toward women as reported in the Pitakas 
is so contrary to the possibility of such a question being 
raised and such an answer being given. 

On the point as to whether there was any necessity 
for Ananda to ask such a question it is relevant to note 
that in the same Chapter of the Mahaparinibbana Sutta, 
only a few gathas removed from those quoted above, the 
Buddha describes how sweet was Ananda and how he was 
loved by all. Out of them I quote below the two following 
gathas — 


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“16. Brethren, there are these four wonderful and 
marvellous qualities in Ananda. 

If, brethren, a number of the brethren of the Order should 
come to visit Ananda, they are filled with joy on beholding 
him; and if Ananda should then preach the truth to them, 
they are filled with joy at the discourse; while the company 
of brethren is ill at ease, brethren, when Ananda is silent. 

If brethren, a number of the sisters of the Order 

or of devout men, or of devout women, should 

behold him; and if Ananda should then preach the truth to 
them, they are filled with joy at the discourse; while the 
company of sisters is ill at ease, brethren, when Ananda 
is silent.” 

From this it is clear that it was usual for Ananda 
to meet women, not only sisters but devout women who 
were not members of the Order. He used to see them, 
meet them and talk to them. Why then should Ananda 
have asked such a question ? The Buddha knew that 
the women used to meet Ananda. He raised no objection 
before. Why should he have thought of interdicting and 
forbidding all contact with women ? The whole passage is 
so unnatural that it must be regarded as a later monastic 
interpolation. 

There is another instance in the life of Ananda 
which stands in stark contrast with the passage in the 
Mahaparinibbana Sutra. As is well known, in the first 
Sangiti (Council) five complaints were made against 
Ananda. They were : — 

(1) that he failed to ask which parts of the Vinaya were 
in the opinion of the Buddha the lesser parts for 
which he gave authority to the Sangha to alter and 
amend; 

(2) that he stepped on the Robe of the Lord during 
retreat when sewing it; 

(3) that he caused the body of the departed Lord to be 
saluted first by women so that it was soiled by 
their tears ; 


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THE RISE FOR IT ? 113 

(4) that he did not ask the Lord to live for a cycle, and 

(5) that he was principally instrumental in getting women 
admitted to the Sangha. 

To all these charges Ananda pleaded guilty. Whether he 
should have pleaded guilty or not is another matter. What 
is of interest is the third charge. For it has great relevance 
to the issue in question. Why did Ananda allow women to 
touch the body of the Master if the advice given by him as 
mentioned in the Mahaparinibbana Sutta is true as a fact ? 
Would he so flagrantly and knowingly disobey the advice 
given by the Buddha a few minutes before?” The answer 
must be in the negative. What follows from this negative 
answer ? What follows is that the Buddha had not given 
such an advice as is alleged against him. For if he had given 
such an advice, Ananda could not have acted contrary to it. 
It therefore stands to reason that no such advice had been 
given by the Buddha. 

Let us now consider the question from the side of the 
Buddha. Would it have been natural for the Buddha to give 
such a reply ? The answer to this question must depend upon 
Buddha’s course of conduct towards women. Did the Buddha 
avoid meeting women as is suggested by the advice he is 
reported to have given to Ananda? Where are the facts ? 

Two examples at once come to mind. One is that of 
Visakha. She was one of the eighty chief disciples of the 
Buddha with the title of “Chief of Alms-givers’. Did not 
Visakha at one time go to hear Buddha preach ? Did she not 
enter his monastery ? Did the Buddha act towards Visakha 
in the manner he directed Ananda to act towards women ? 
What did the Bhikkhus present at the meeting do? Did they 
leave the meeting? 

The second instance that comes to one’s mind is that of 
Amrapali of Vaisali. She went to see the Buddha and gave 
him and his monks an invitation for a meal at her house. She 
was courtesan. She was the most beautiful woman in Vaisali. 
Did the Buddha and the Bhikkhus avoid her ? On the other 
hand they accepted her invitation-rejecting the invitation of 
the Licchavis who felt quite insulted on that account- and 
went to her home and partook of her food. 


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114 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

Other examples are not wanting. The Nandakovada Sutta 1 
tells of Mahaprajapati Gotami having brought five hundred 
alms-women with her to the Buddha when he was staying at 
Sravasti with a request that he should instruct them in the 
Doctrine and Discipline. Did the Buddha run away from them ? 

The Samyutta Nikaya 2 reports that Kokanada, daughter 
of Pajjuna, when the night was far spent shedding radiance 
with her effulgent beauty over the whole Mahavana, came into 
the presence of the Buddha when he was staying at Vaisali. 

The reports of frequent visits of Queen Mallika, wife of 
King Pasenajit, to the Buddha for religious instructions are 
scattered in the Pitakas. 

From these instances it is clear that the Buddha did not 
shun women and women were not afraid of going to the Buddha. 

It is true that the Buddha did advise 3 the Bikkhus not 
to make it a habit to visit families of lay disciples for fear of 
human weakness yielding to frequent contacts with women. But 
he did not forbid such visits nor did he express any disdain 
about women as such. 

It is also true that the Buddha was dreadfully keen in 
maintaining celibacy. He was painfully aware of the fact that, 
to use his own words , 4 “Women doth stain life of celibacy”. 
But what did he advise ? Did he advise the Bhikkhus to shun 
all contact with women ? Not at all. He never put any such 
interdict. Far from doing any such thing what he did was to 
tell the Bhikkhus that whenever they met any women, do ye 
call up the mother-mind, the sister-mind, or the daughter- 
mind 5 as the case may be i.e. regard a woman as you would 
your own mother, sister or daughter. 

The second possible ground which an opponent of the Buddha 
can rely upon in support of the accusation is the opposition of 
the Buddha to women joining the Sangha and in making the 
Bhikkhuni Sangha (when he ultimately allowed it) subordinate 
to the Bhikkhu Sangha. Here again a further analysis of 
the situation is necessary. Why did the Buddha oppose the 

1 : Majjima Nikaya II. P. 309. 

2 : Vol. I P. 40. 

3 : Anguttara Nikaya III P. 190. 

4 : Samyutta Nikaya I. P. 53. 

5 : Kindred Saying IV, P. 68. 


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demand of Mahaprajapati to take parivraja (ordination) ? Did 
he oppose it because he was of opinion that women were a low 
class whose admission would lower the status of the Sangha 
in public esteem ? Or did he oppose it because he was of 
opinion that women intellectually and morally were incapable 
of realizing the ideal of His Doctrine and His Discipline? The 
second of these two questions was definitely put to the Buddha 
by Ananda in the course of the argument when he found the 
Buddha somewhat adamant. The Buddha gave an unequivocal 
answer leaving no room for doubt or dispute. He said that 
women were fully capable of realizing His Doctrine and His 
Discipline and that was not the reason why he refused their 
demand for taking parivraja. It is clear from this that the 
Buddha did not regard woman as inferior to man either in 
point of intellect or character. That he opposed the admission 
of women because he held them in low esteem and feared that 
they might lower the prestige of the Sangha is an argument 
which is hardly worth mentioning. For if that was his feeling 
he would never have admitted them at all. 

To the argument that he made the Bhikkhuni Sangha 
subordinate to the Bhikku Sangha, the answer in question 
behind this arrangement there was no consideration as to 
superiority or inferiority, what lay behind this arrangement 
were consideration of purely practical character. In admitting 
women to be Parivrajikas (nuns) the Buddha had to face 
two questions. Should there be only one Sangha for men 
and women ? He decided to have two separate Sanghas. 
He was afraid that in a confraternity of men and women 
Parivrajakas the rule of celibacy would be completely lost. 
While therefore admitting women, he thought, it was necessary 
to use his own words, a dyke between them by creating two 
separate organisations. Having decided to create two separate 
organisations he was faced with another question. If there 
are to be two separate Sanghas- one for men and one for 
women- were they to be quite independent and separate 
organisations or was there to be some sort of inter-relation 
between the two ? 

On the first issue no other decision was possible except that 
the women’s Sangha should be separate from the men’s Sangha. 


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116 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

This was an inevitable consequence which followed from the 
Rule of celibacy which was binding on both. The Buddha knew 
what a great force the sex instinct is with life of both man 
as well as woman. To use the Buddha’s own words it is this 
instinct which drives a man in woman’s bondage and a woman 
in man’s bondage. This force, if given an opportunity to have 
its full force, the rule of celibacy could not last for a minute. 
To save the rule of celibacy he had to organise two separate 
Sanghas. 

To take up the second issue : was any decision possible 
other than the one the Buddha took ? The women who joined 
his faith were raw women. They had to be instructed in His 
Doctorine and they had to be trained in His rules of Discipline. 
Who could undertake this task ? To whom else could He have 
entrusted this work ? To none except the male Bhikkhus of his 
Order. For they were already instructed in His Doctrine and 
trained in His Discipline. And this is what He did. Now what 
was the relationship that was forged between the Bhikkhus and 
Bhikkhunis by entrusting the work of instruction of the latter 
to the former ? This is a necessary question to raise. Without 
it the explanation of the insubordination of the Bhikkhuni 
Sangha to the Bhikkhu Sangha does not become quite clear. The 
obvious answer to this question is that by entrusting the work 
of training the Bhikkhunis to the Bhikkhus, their relationship 
became one of teacher and pupil. Now does not the relationship 
of teacher and pupil involve some authority for teacher over 
the pupil and some submission or subordination on the part 
of the pupil to the teacher ? What more did the Buddha do ? 

In this connection it is useful to compare the relationship 
between monasteries and nunneries in the Christian Church. 
Are not the nunneries subordinate to the monasteries ? Of 
course they are 1 . Can anybody therefore say that Christianity 
treats women as inferior to men ? Why then should a different 
interpretation be put upon the arrangement made by the 
Buddha for regulating the relations between the Bhikkhus 
and Bhikkhunis? 

So far as the Sutta Pitaka is concerned there is absolutely no 
ground for the charge that the Buddha had a prejudice against 
women and was for ever exhorting men to beware of them. 


1 : See Article “Nuns” in the Catholic Encyclopaedia, Vol. XI. P. 164. 


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ii 

Let us pass from particular instances to the general 
attitude of the Buddha towards women in general. Did the 
Buddha hold women in low esteem ? I am sure that whoever 
reads references to women by the Buddha which occur in 
the sacred literature of the Buddhists will be convinced 
that far from doing anything which would have the effect of 
degrading the woman, the Buddha all along tried to ennoble 
woman and to elevate her. Let me give a few illustrations 
in support of this view. 

The birth of a daughter has been from ancient past 
regarded as a calamity by the people of India generally. 
Did the Buddha share this sentiment ? His attitude towards 
this question was quite the contrary to the traditional view 
as is illustrated by this advice to King Prasenajit. Once 
King Prasenajit was visiting the Buddha at Sravasti in 
Jeta’s garden. A messenger from the Royal Palace came 
and informed him that his wife Queen Mallika had given 
birth to a daughter. On hearing this news the King went 
off his colour and looked sad and dejected. The Buddha 
noticed this change on his face and asked him for the cause 
of it. On being informed of it the Buddha said , 1 “Why be 
sorry? A woman child, O Lord of men, may prove even a 
better offspring than a male. For she may grow up wise and 
virtuous... The boy that she may bear may do great deeds 
and rule great realms...” 

In answer to a question as to why some families rise 
and others decay, the Buddha is reported to have told the 
Bhikkhus that 2 — 

“Whatsoever families, monks, having attained greatness of 
possessions fail to last long, because they seek not for what is 
lost, they repair not the decayed, they eat and drink to excess, 
they put in authority a woman or a man that is immoral. 
Whatsoever families., fail to last long all of them do so because 
of these four reasons or one or other of them. 

“Whatsoever families, monks, do last long, all of them do so 
because they seek for what is lost, repair the decayed, eat and 
drink in moderation, and put in authority a virtuous woman or 


1 : Samyutta Nikaya : Vol. I, P. 110. 

2 : Anguttara Nikaya : Vol. II, Pp. 254-255. 


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118 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

man. Whatsoever families... do last long, all of them do so 
because of these four reasons or one or other of them.” 

In describing to the Bhikkhus what happens when a 
Monarch “who rolls the wheel, i.e., who is destined to 
be a Chakravarti (world monarch) appears in the world, 
the Buddha is reported to have told the monks that 1 — 

“Whenever such a monarch appears there is the 
appearance of the seven treasures: the treasure of the 
Wheel, the Elephant, the Horse, the Jewel, the Woman, 
the House-father, and the treasure of the Heir Apparent.” 

On another occasion the Buddha, speaking of the value 
of a woman to the world, said , 2 

“Woman is the commodity Supreme because (as the 
commentator adds) she is of indispensable utility, or because 
through her Bodhisattvas and world rulers take birth.” 

How can a person in whose view the birth of a 
daughter was not an occasion for sorrow and might 
well be an occasion of joy, who held the view that those 
families are saved from a downfall which place a woman 
in authority over their affairs, who had no hesitation 
in describing woman as one of the seven Treasures and 
a thing of supreme value, be described as a hater or 
despiser of woman ? These statements are typical of the 
general sentiments entertained by the Buddha towards 
womankind. Can anybody say that they are calculated to 
bring the woman into ridicule and contempt ? 

Ill 

Those who see a social wrong in the Buddha placing 
the Bhikklumis under the authority of the Bhikkhus 
do not realize what a revolutionary act it was on the 
part of the Buddha to have allowed women to take 
Sannyas or Parivraja (Monkhood). Under the Brahamanic 
theory women had already been denied the right to 
acquire knowledge. When the question of Sannyas 


1 : Anguttara Nikaya : Vol. V. P. 83. 

2 : Samyutta Nikaya : Vol. I. P. 62. 


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came they did to the Indian woman another wrong. As a 
matter of history Sannyas was not an ideal of the Brahmins 
who worshipped the Vedas and who, for a long time, refused to 
recognise the Upanishadas as sacred literature. Sannyas was 
the ideal of the Upanishadas and the end of Sannyasa was to 
realize the Upanishadic doctrine that the Atman is Brahma. 
The Brahmins were dead opposed to the life of Sannyas. 
Ultimately they yielded but subject to certain conditions. One 
of the conditions was that women (and Shudras) were not to 
be eligible for Sannyas. 

It is important to understand the reason why the Brahmins 
debarred woman from taking Sannyas because it helps to 
understand the attitude of the Brahmins towards woman which 
was in sharp contrast with that of the Buddha. The reason is 
stated by Manu. It reads as follows : — 

IX. 18. Women have no right to study the Vedas. That is 
why their Sanskars (rites) are performed without Veda 
Mantras. Women have no knowledge of religion because 
they have no right to know the Vedas. The uttering of 
the Veda Mantras is useful for removing sin. As women 
cannot utter the Veda Mantras they are as untruth is. 

Although Manu was later than the Buddha, he has 
enunciated the old view propounded in the older Dhanna 
Sutras. This view of the women was both an insult and an 
injury to the women of India. It was an injury because without 
any justification she was denied the right to acquire knowlege 
which is the birthright of every human being. It was an insult 
because after denying her opportunity to acquire knowldege she 
was declared to be as unclean as untruth for want of knowledge 
and therefore not to be allowed to take Sannyas which was 
regarded as a path to reach Brahma. Not only was she denied 
the right to realize her spiritual potentiality she was declared 
to be barren of any spiritual potentiality by the Brahmins. 

This is a cruel deal with women. It has no parallel. As Prof. 
Max Muller 1 has said, “However far the human may be from 
the Divine, nothing on the earth is nearer to God than man, 
nothing on earth more Godlike than man”. If this is true of man 
why is this not true of woman ? The Brahmins had no answer. 


1 : Hibbert lectures on Religion, Page 379. 


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120 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

By admitting women to the life of Parivrajika, the Buddha, 
by one stroke, removed both these wrongs. He gave them the 
right to knowledge and the right to realize their spiritual 
potentialities alongwith man. It was both a revolution and 
liberation of women in India. To quote the words of Prof. 
Max Muller : — 

“The history of India teaches us that the galling fetters 
of the old Brahmanic law were broken at last, for there 
can be little doubt that we have to recognise in Buddhism 
an assertion of the rights of individual liberty, and more 
particularly, of the right of rising above the trammels of 
society, of going, as it were into the forest, and of living a 
life of perfect spiritual freedom, whenever a desire for such 
freedom arose.” 

This freedom which the Buddha gave to the women of India 
is a fact of far greater importance and out-weighs whatever 
stigma which is said to be involved in the subordination of 
the Bhikkhunis to the Bhikkhu Sangha. This was not an 
empty freedom. It was freedom which they keenly enjoyed 

and sang about “O free indeed! O gloriously free am I ” 

sang Mutta 1 - a Bhikkuni, who was a Brahmin girl. Mettika, 
another Bikkhuni, also a Brahmin girl, sang -“.... so sit I 
here upon a rock. And over my spirit sweeps the breath of 
liberty 2 .” 

As Mrs. Rhys Davids Says - 3 

“To gain his freedom mobility they, like their 

later Christian sisters, had laid down all social position, all 
domestic success, they had lost their world. But in exchange 
they had won the status of an individual in place of being 
adjuncts, however much admired, fostered, and sheltered 
they might, as such, have been. ‘With shaven head, wrapt 
in their robe’-a dress indistinguishable, it would seem, from 
the swathing toga and swathed undergarments of the male 
religieuxs - the Sister was free to come and go, to dive alone 
into the depths of the wood, or climb aloft.” 

1 : Psalms of Sisters No. XI. 

2 : ibid No. XXIV. 

3 : Preface to Therigatha. 


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In allowing women to become Bhikkhunis the Buddha 
not only opened for them the way to liberty, he also allowed 
them to acquire dignity, independent of sex. To her freedom 
she could, in the words of Mrs. Rhys Davids : 

“Wed the other austere joy of being recognized, at least by 
her brother Arahants, ‘as a rational being, without reference 
to sex. As such she breathed the spiritual atmosphere, 
she shared the intellectual communion of that religious 
aristocracy called in the Pitakas, Ariyas, with whom she 
claimed that power of seeing all things as they really are’ 
which the Buddhist called being awake. 

‘How should the woman’s nature hinder Us-us Ariyas 
says Soma, a Bhikkhuni 1 : 

“What can that signify to one in whom 

Insight doth truly comprehend the Norm ? 

To one for whom the question doth arise : 

Am I a woman in such matters, or 

Am I a man ? or what not am I, then ? 

To such an one is Mara fit to talk !” 

This is not all. The Buddha in allowing women to 
become Bhikkhunis he opened them the way to equality 
with man. As observed by Mrs. Rhys Davids 2 “It is true 
that the Bhikkunis were technically appointed juniors 
in perpetuity to the Bhikkhus. It is equally clear that, 
by intellectual and more eminence, a Theri might claim 
equality with the highest of the fraternity. In the Psalms 
an instance occurs, in xxx, vii, where Bhadda associates 
herself in spiritual attainment with the great Kassapa, 
successor, as head of the Order, to the Founder himself. In 
this connection it should be noted that the Buddha did not 
place any premium on virginity as such. He kept his way 
open to all classes of women — married, unmarried, widows 
and even to prostitutes. All could acquire merit, freedom, 
dignity, an equality along with man.” 


1 Psalms No. XVI. 

2 Preface to Therigatha P. P. XVI-XXVII. 


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122 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

IV 

There can be no doubt that there has been an utter downfall 
in position of women in India from what it once was. One 
cannot say much about the part they played in ancient time in 
state-craft. But there is no doubt that they did occupy a very 
high position in the intellectual and social life of the country. 

That at one time a woman was entitled to upanayan is 
clear from the Atharva Veda where a girl is spoken of as 
being eligible for marriage having finished her Brahmacharya. 
From the Shrauta Sutras it is clear that women could repeat 
the Mantras of the Vedas and the women were taught to 
read the Vedas. Panini’s Ashtadhyay bears testimony to the 
fact that women attended Gurukul (College) and studied the 
various Shakhas (Sections) of the Veda and became expert 
in Mimansa. Patanjali’s Maha Bhashya shows that women 
were teachers and taught Vedas to girl students. The stories 
of women entering into public discussions with men on most 
abstruse subjects of religion, philosophy and metaphysics are 
by no means few. The story of public disputation between 
Janaka and Sulabha, between Yajnavalkya and Gargi, between 
Yajnavalkya and Maitrei and between Sankaracharya and 
Vidyadhari shows that Indian women in pre-Manu’s time 
could rise to the highest pinnacle of learning and education. 

That at one time women were highly respected cannot be 
disputed. Among the Ratnis who played so prominent a part 
in the coronation of the King in Ancient India was queen and 
the King made her an offering’ as he did to the others. Not 
only the King elect did homage to the Queen he worshipped 
his other wives of lower castes 1 2 . In the same way the King 
offers salutation after the coronation ceremony to the ladies 
of the chiefs of the Srenies ( guilds ) 3 . 

This is a very high position for women in any part of the 
World. Who was responsible for their fall ? It was Manu, the 
Law Giver of the Hindus. There can be no other answer. 
To leave no room for doubt, let me quote some of the laws 
made by Manu regarding women and are to be found in the 
Manu-Smriti. 

1 Jaiswal — Indian Polity, Part ii P. 16. 

2 ibid P. 17. 

3 ibid P. 82. 


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II. 213. It is the nature of women to seduce man in 
this (world). For that reason the wise are never 
unguarded in (the company of) females. 

II. 214. For women are able to lead astray in (this) world 
not only a fool, but even a learned man, and (to 
make) him a slave of desire and anger. 


II. 215. One should not sit in a lonely place with one’s 
mother, sister or daughter; for the senses are 
powerful, and master even a learned man. 

IX. 14. Women do not care for beauty, nor is their 
attention fixed on age; (thinking), ‘(If is enough 
that) he is a man’, they give themselves to the 
handsome and to the ugly. 

IX. 15. Through their passion for men, through their 
mutable temper, through natural heartlessness, 
they become disloyal towards their husbands, 
however, carefully they may be guarded in this 
(world). 


IX. 16. Knowing their disposition, which the Lord of 
creatures laid in them at the creation to be such, 
(every) man should most strenuously exert himself 
to guard them. 

IX. 17. (When creating them) Manu allotted to women 
(a love of their) seat and (of) ornament, impure 
desires, wrath, dishonesty, malice and bad conduct. 


This shows how low was woman in the opinion of Manu. 
The laws of Manu against women are of a piece with this view. 

Women are not to be free under any circumstances. In 
the opinion of Manu : — 

IX. 2. Day and night women must be kept in dependence 
by the males (of) their (families), and if they attach 
themselves to sensual enjoyments, they must be 
kept under one’s control. 


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124 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 


IX. 3. Her father protects (her) in childhood, her husband 
protects (her) in youth, and her sons protect (her) 
in old age; a woman is never for independence. 

IX. 5. Women must particularly be guarded against evil 
inclinations, however trifling (they may appear); 
if they are not guarded, they will bring sorrow 
on two families. 

IX. 6. Considering the higher duty of all castes, even 
weak husbands (must) strive to guard their wives. 

V. 147. By a girl, by a young woman, or even by an aged 
one, nothing must be done independently, even in 
her own house. 


V. 148. In childhood a female must be subject to her father, 
in youth to her husband, when her lord is dead 
to her sons; a woman must never be independent. 

V. 149. She must not seek to separate herself from her 
father, husband, or sons; by leaving them she 
would make both (her own and her husband’s) 
families contemptible. 

Woman is not to have a right to divorce. 

IX. 45. The husband is declared to be one with wife, which 
means that there could be no seperation once a 
woman is married. 


Many Hindus stop here as though this is the whole story 
regarding Manu’s law of divorce and keep on idolizing it 
by comforting their conscience with the thought that Manu 
regarded marriage as sacrament and therefore did not allow 
divorce. This of course is far from the truth. His law against 
divorce had a very different motive. It was not to tie up a 
man to a woman but it was to tie up the woman to a man 
and to leave the man free. 


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For Manu does not prevent a man from giving up his 
wife. Indeed he not only allows him to abandon his wife 
but he also permits him to sell her. But what he does is 
to prevent the wife from becoming free. See what Manu 
says : — 

IX. 46. Neither by sale nor by repudiation is a wife 
released from her husband. 

The meaning is that a wife, sold or repudiated by 
her husband, can never become the legitimate wife of 
another who may have bought or received her after she 
was repudiated. If this is not monstrous, nothing can be. 
But Manu was not worried by considerations of justice or 
injustice in framing his law. He wanted to deprive women 
of the freedom they had under the Buddhistic regime. 
Manu was outraged by licence and in putting a stop to it 
he deprived her of her liberty. 

A wife was reduced by Manu to a level of a slave in 
the matter of property. 

IX. 416. A wife, a son and a slave, these three are declared 
to have no property; the wealth which they earn 
is (acquired) for him to whom they belong. 

When she becomes a widow Manu allows her 
maintenance, if her husband was joint, and a widow’s 
estate in the property of her husband, if she was separate 
from his family. But Manu never allows her to have any 
domination over property. 

A woman under the laws of Manu is subject to corporal 
punishment and Manu allows the husband the right to 
beat his wife. 

VIII. 299. A wife, a son, a slave, a pupil, and a younger 
brother of the full blood, who have committed 
faults, may be beaten with a rope or a split 
bamboo. 

Under Manu a woman had no right to knowledge. The 
study of the Veda was forbidden to her by Manu. 


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126 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 


II. 66. 

Even for a woman the performance of the 
Sanskaras are necessary and they should be 


performed without uttering the Veda Mantras. 

Offering sacrifices according to Brahmanism formed the very 
soul of religion. Manu forbids women from performing sacrifices. 
Manu ordains that : 

XI 36-37. A woman shall not perform the daily sacrifices 
prescribed by the Vedas. If she does it, she 
will go to hell. 

To disable her from performing such sacrifices Manu prevents 
her from getting the aid and services of a Brahmin priest. 


IV. 205 
206. 

- A Brahmin must never eat food given at a sacrifice 
performed by women. Sacrifices performed by 
women are inauspicious and not acceptable to 
God. They should, therefore, be avoided. 

Finally, a word regarding the ideal of life, 
Manu has sought to place before a woman. It 
had better be stated in his own words 

V. 151. 

Him to whom her father may give her, or her 
brother with the father’s permission, she shall 
obey as long as he lives and when he is dead, 
she must not insult his memory. 

V. 154. 

Though destitute of virtue, or seeking pleasure 
elsewhere, or devoid of good qualities, yet a 
husband must be constantly worshipped as a 
God by a faithful wife. 

V. 155. 

No sacrifice, no vow, no fast must be performed 
by women, apart from their husbands; if a wife 
obeys her husband, she will for that reason alone 
be exalted in heaven. 


Then comes the choicest texts which form the pith and 
the marrow of this ideal which Manu prescribes for women : - 

V. 153. The husband who wedded her with sacred 
Mantras, is always a source of happiness to 


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his wife, both in season and out of season, in this world 
and in the next. 

V. 150. She must always be cheerful, clever in the management 
of her household affairs, careful in cleaning her utensils, 
and economical in expenditure. 

This the Hindus regard as a very lofty ideal for a 
woman !!! 

As though to put a coping stone on his edifice of 
disabilities of women Manu declared a new rule 
that killing a woman was only an Upapataka 
i.e. it was a minor offence. 

XI. 67. Liquor, slaying women, Sudras, Vaishyas, 
or Kshatriyas, and a theists (are all) minor 
offences. 

One can quite understand why Manu should have said 
that the killing of a Sudras, Vaishya or a Kshatriya was 
only an Upapataka. He was trying to establish that the 
Brahmin was superior to all these and only the killing of 
a Brahmin was Mahapataka. But why did he not apply 
the same rule to women ? Only because a woman, in the 
eyes of Manu, was a thing of no value. 

In the face of these quotations can anybody doubt that 
it was Manu who was responsible for the degradation of 
women in India ? Most people are perhaps aware of this. 
But they do not seem to know two things. They do not 
know what is peculiar in Manu. There is nothing new or 
startling in the Laws of Manu about woman. They are the 
views of the Brahmins ever since Brahmanism was born in 
India. Before Manu they existed only as a matter of social 
theory. What Manu did was to convert what was a social 
theory into the law of the State. The second thing they do 
not know is the reason which led Manu to impose these 
disabilities upon women, Sudras and women were the two 
chief sections of the Aryan Society which were flocking to 
join the religion of the Buddha and thereby undermining 
the foundation of Brahmanic Religion. Manu wanted to 
stem the tide of women flowing in direction of Buddhism. 


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128 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

It is for this that Manu imposed these disabilities upon 
women and crippled them permanently. Those who doubt 
this might well consider the following injunctions contained 
in Manu Smriti — 

V. 88. Funeral rites and obsequies which are performed 
on the death of a person shall be withdrawn (i.e, 
shall not be performed ) from those who are born 
out of intermixture, from those who are addicted 
to asceticism and from those who have ended their 
lives by committing suicide. 

V. 89. They shall also be withdrawn from women who 
have joined a heretic sect, who have too freely, 
who have injured a child in their womb or their 
husband and those who drink wine. 

This injunction is among others aimed at (1) those who 
are addicted to asceticism and (2) women who have joined a 
heretic sect. In this injuction asceticism refers to Parivrajakas 
i.e. those who have abandoned their homes and taken to 
Sannyas and, in referring to a heretic sect, there is no doubt 
that Manu has in mind the Buddhist religion. It is therefore 
clear that when Manu declares that no funeral rites and 
obsequies shall be performed, for an ascetic or a woman 
who has joined a heretic sect, what Manu does is to prohibit 
performance of funeral rites and obsequies of a member of a 
family-whether male or female-who has joined the Buddha’s 
religion. In other words he wants them to be treated as though 
they were disaffiliated and ho longer belonged to the family. 
Manu was the greatest opponent of the Buddhist religion. 
This is the secret of the many inequities which he heaped 
upon women. For he knew that if the home is to be protected 
against the invasion of Buddhism it is the woman who must 
be put under restraint. And he did it. All responsibility for 
the decline and fall of woman in India must be fastened upon 
Manu and not upon the Buddha. 

In the compass of a few pages I have endeavoured to present 
the story of the Rise and fall of the Hindu woman. I have also 
endeavoured to offer an explanation as to who was the author 
of their fall and why he brought it about. I hope that the 


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THE RISE FOR IT ? 129 

unprejudiced and the impartial will realize that it was not 
the Buddha who can be held responsible for the tragedy. If 
anything the Buddha endeavoured to ennoble the woman it 
was to raise her to the level of man . 1 


• • 


l : Magazine — ‘Maha Bodhi’ May-June 1951, Vol. 59, Pp. 137-151. 


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19 

SAINTS’ LITERATURE CAN HELP TO MORAL 
REARMAMENT OF MAN 

I am happy to know that there has come into existence 
the Eknath Research Society in Aurangabad. In my young 
days I was very fond of the literary works of the Maharashtra 
Saints and I can say how great a contribution the reading of 
this literature can make to the moral rearmament of man. I 
wish the Society every success and can promise all help from 
the People’s Education Society. 


Aurangabad, Sd./- B. R. Ambedkar. 

2-9-1951. 

[Eknath Darshan (Marathi) Vol. 1, Shri Eknath, 
Sanshodhan Mandir. 128, Marathwada, Sultan Bazar, 
Hyderabad, 1952. J 1 


• • 


1 Reprinted : Khairmode, Vol. 10, p. 143. 


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20 


OUTLINE 


A PEOPLE AT BAY 


BY 

B. R. AMBEDKAR 

M. A., Ph. D., D. Sc., 
Barrister-at-Law. 


Author of Annihilation of Caste 


“RAJGRAHA” 


DADAR 

BOMBAY-14. 


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132 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 


A PEOPLE AT BAY 

Table of Contents 


Chapter 

1 . 

A Civilization which is Infamy. 

Chapter 

2. 

The Felony of a Graded Order. 

Chapter 

3. 

From Millions to Fractions. 

Chapter 

4. 

Waiting for a Visa. 

Chapter 

5. 

Revolt of the Untouchables. 

Chapter 

6. 

Held at Bay. 

Chapter 

7. 

Why Lawlessness is Lawful. 

Chapter 

8. 

Parellel Cases. 

Chapter 

9. 

Slaves and Untouchables. 

Chapter 

10. 

An Eternal Verity. 

Chapter 

11. 

Untouchables and Pax Britannia. 

Chapter 

12. 

Hindu Reformers At Work. 

Chapter 

13. 

Christianising the Untouchables. 

Chapter 

14. 

Under the Aegis of Mr. Gandhi. 

Chapter 

15. 

Untouchables and their Origin. 

Chapter 

16. 

Untouchables and their Destiny. 


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A PEOPLE AT BAY 133 

SYNOPSIS 

Chapter 1. 

A Civilization which is Infamy 

I. Another cross-section view. 

II. Sunken classes seen through it. — (a) Primitive Tribes, 
(b) Criminal Tribes, (c) Untouchables. 

III. Their Position as affected by Hindu Civilization. 

IV. Difference in the Problems of these Classes. 

Chapter 2. 

The Felony of a Graded Order 

I. Hindu Social Organization. 

II. Gradation v/s. Inequality. 

III. The Reality of it. 

IV. The Inequity of it. 

Chapter 3 

From Millions to Fractions 

I. Population of the Untouchables an unknown quantity. 

II. The Census of 1911 and the first attempt at separate 
enumeration. 

III. Confirmation of the findings of 1911 Census. 

IV. Lothian Committee and the Hindu cry of “No 
Untouchables.” 

V. Reasons for the Cry. 

VI. Attitude of the Backward Classes and the Muslims. 

Chapter 4 
Waiting for a Visa 

I. The Unclean and the Ominous. 

II. Untouchability and the Hindus. 


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134 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

III. Untouchability and the Parsis. 

IV. Untouchability and the Musalmans. 

V. Neither man nor brother though kith and kin. 

Chapter 5 

Revolt of the Untouchables 

I. Long in travail, 

II. Fight for right to use roads. 

III. Fight for right to take water. 

IV. Fight for right to Worship in Temples. 

V. Fight for a Clean Life. 

Chapter 6 
Held at Bay 

I. Hindu Reaction to the Revolt of the Untouchables. 

II. Lawless means for Ruthless Repression. 

III. Untouchable s-a weak force. 

IV. Officers who are shameless partisans. 

V. Silencing the guns. 

VI. A new form of punishment. 

Chapter 7 

Why lawless is lawful 

I. Adharma for Dharma. 

II. Manu and Dharma. 

III. Modern Counterparts. 

IV. Effect of Dharma on character and outlook. 

Chapter 8 
Parallel Cases 

I. Slavery in Rome. 

II. Villeinage in England. 

III. Jews and Slavery. 

IV. Negroes and Slavery. 


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A PEOPLE AT BAY 135 

Chapter 9 

Slaves and Untouchables 

I. Slavery in India. 

II. Slavery de-jure. 

III. Slavery de facto. 

IV. A Paradox and its explanation. 

Chapter 10 
An Eternal Verity 

I. A Stigma that cannot be washed away. 

II. Law and Religion. 

III. Part played by the Intelligentsia. 

IV. Gradations of Status and the Weakening of the Common 
Front. 

V. Chaturvarna and the emasculation of the masses. 

Chapter 11 

Untouchables and Pax Britannia 

I. Untouchables and the British conquest of India. 

II. British Government and Education of the Untouchables. 

III. British Government and the entry of the Untouchables 
in public service. 

IV. British Government and Social Reform. 

V. British Government and the gain to the Untouchables. 

Chapter 12 

Hindu Reformers At Work 

I. Buddha and Social Reform. 

II. Hindu saints and what they did. 

III. Genesis of Social Reform in Modern India. 

IV. Scope of the Reform Movement. 

V. Reformers in Action. 

VI. Hindu Youth and Social Reform. 


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136 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

Chapter 13 

Christainising the Untouchables 

I. Hindu opposition to Conversion. 

II. Slow growth of Christianity. 

III. A wrong approach. 

IV. Christianity and the Return of the Pagan. 

V. Christianity and the Social Position of the Convert. 

Chapter 14 

Under the Aegis of Mr. Gandhi 

I. A Saint and a Politician. 

II. The Great Repudiation. 

III. His Work for the Untouchables. 

IV. Gandhian way of Salvation. 

V. A Politician and a Saint. 

Chapter 15 

Untouchables and their Origin 

I. The theory of Race. 

II. The theory of Conquest. 

III. The theory of Manu. 

IV. The theory of the Unclean. 

V. A new theory. 

Chapter 16 

Untouchables and their Destiny 

I. Within or without. 

II. Hinduism as a Spiritual Home. 

III. Gita and the hope of the Untouchables. 


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21 

THE MAHARS : WHO WERE THEY AND HOW 
THEY BECAME THE UNTOUCHABLES ? 

In this paper, I propose to raise these questions, and 
attempt to give an answer to them which in my judgment are 
most appropriate answers. These questions are : (1) Who are 
the Mahars ? (2) Why do they live outside the village ? and 
(3) Why have they been classed as Untouchables ? 

* * * 

I 

Who are the Mahars ? 

Mr. Wilson derived the word ‘Maharashtra’ from the word 
Mahar’ and suggested that Maharashtra meant the country 
belonging to the Mahars. This derivation of the term Mahars 
is sought to be supported on the analogy of ‘Gujarashtra’ the 
country of the Gujars and ‘Saurashtra’ the country of the 
Sauraj. An objection is taken to this derivation of the term 
Mahar on two different grounds, the one objection rests upon 
the view that the term Maharashtra does not mean the country 
of the Mahars but that it means the great country. The second 
objection that is raised to this derivation is based upon the view 
that the Mahars who are at present so fallen in their social 
status that it could not be supposed that they at any time in 
the course of history have had so exalted a position as to be 
the ruler of the country. It is my view that this derivation put 
forth by Mr. Wilson is unsupportable for two very different 
reasons. The first reason which leads me to reject the derivation 
suggested by Wilson may be formulated in the following terms : 
It is obvious that if Maharasthra meant the country of Mahars, 
it is obvious that the Mahars as a community distinct from 
the rest of the population must have been in existence from 
very ancient times and must have been known in history, 
by that name. Now is there any evidence to show that the 
Mahars are as a community known to history by the name 
Mahars ? Confining ourselves to the Bombay Presidency the 
three principal communities which comprise the Untouchable 
classes are: (1) The Mahars, (2) The Chambhars, and 


Note : The Ms. of the paper did not contain title — Editors. 


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138 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

(3) The Mangs. Of these the Mahars form by far the 
largest group. It is extraordinary to find that while Mangs 
and Chambhars are known in history as existing communities, 
there is no-where any mention of the Mahars as a community. 
Reaching back to Manu he mentions certain classes which in his 
time were recognised as Untouchable Communities. Among them 
the Chambhars are specifically mentioned as an Untouchable 
Community. The Mangs are not mentioned by Manu. That is 
probably because Mangs were not to be found in the territory 
which was known to the author of the Manusmriti. But there 
is ample evidence in the Buddhist literature that the Mangs 
who therein referred to as Matangas existed as a separate 
community bearing a name which became well known to all. 
But neither in the Manusmriti nor in the Buddhist literature 
is there any mention of the Mahars as a community. Not only 
is there mention of the Mahars in this ancient lore but even 
the later Smritis of quite modern times make no reference to 
the Mahars as a community. Indeed upto the advent of the 
Muslims, one does not meet with the word Mahar. One finds it 
mentioned only once in the Dnyaneshwari which is 1100 A.D. 
Before him the name Mahar is simply non-existent. What are 
we to suppose ? Was there no such community as the Mahars 
in the ancient times before Dnyaneshwari ? Or, are we to 
suppose that there existed a community but then it was known 
by some other name ? Whichever the case is the non-existence 
of the name Mahars militates strongly against the view of 
Mr. Wilson. If the term Mahar was not known, much less could 
it become the basis of a name given to the country. 

The second reason which leads me to reject the view of 
Mr. Wilson is based upon the considerations arising out of 
the totems which one finds existent in the Mahar community. 
Mr. Wilson’s hypothesis if taken to be correct must necessarily 
lead to the conclusion that the Mahars are an aboriginal 
race inhabiting the country before the entry of Aryans in the 
country now known as Maharashtra. I feel certain that such 
a conclusion is untenable for reasons which I am sorry to say, 
have not been fully appreciated by those who allege that the 
Mahars belong to the aboriginal classes of this Province. As 
a first step in the chain of reasoning, I am depending upon 
in support of my view, I would like to point out one notable 
fact and it is this — there are no Marathas where there are no 


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THE MAHARS : UNTOUCHABLES ? 139 

Mahars and wherever there are Mahars there are Marathas 
also. This link is not a mere matter of accident, that the link 
is integral, is supported by another piece of evidence which 
is also usually overlooked by students of ethnology. Now it is 
well known that the Marathas have a clan organisation. They 
have what they call their ‘ Kuls’ : and they have also what is 
called a totem. The importance of the Kul’ and the totem 
will be obvious to every student of ethnology. A common ‘Kul’ 
and a common totem are indicative of kinship. Bearing this 
in mind a comparison of the Kul’ among the Mahars and the 
Marathas yields a very significant result. 

(The Table mentioned below is not found in the M. S. — 
Editors) 

A glance at the table would show that there is no Kul’ 
among the Mahars which does not exist among the Marathas 
and there is no Kul’ among the Marathas which is not to 
be found among the Mahars. If anthropology can be relied 
upon in support of the proposition that the common Kul’ is 
indicative of kinship then the Mahars and the Marathas form 
a kindred community and the Mahars could not be rejected 
as an aboriginal community unless one is also prepared to 
go to the length of saying that the Marathas also are an 
aboriginal community. 

Whether the Marathas are an Aryan or a Non-Aryan 
community is a question on which there is no unanimity. 
Risley held the view that the Marathas were not Aryans : 
and he rested his conclusions mostly on anthropometric 
measurements. Others have challenged this view and 
concluded that the Marathas are Aryans and have sought to 
meet the anthropometric objections of Risley by the argument 
that there were two waves of the Aryan invaders and the 
Marathas belonged to the Second. That is the reason why their 
anthropometric measurements do not tally with those taken 
as standard by Risley. The second hypothesis seems to derive 
some support from the fact that in ancient times Maharashtra 
was called ‘Ariake’ on the ground that the Aryans formed the 
predominent population and also because in the Karnatak the 
Maratha is still called Arer Mated’ (The Aryan Man). 

Be that as it may, there is no question that the Mahars are not 
an aboriginal people. In addition to what has been stated in support 


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140 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

of this proposition there are other land-marks and survivals 
which can be relied upon in support of this view. The first 
thing to which attention must be drawn is the fact that a 
great number of the Kul’ which indicate the status of a Rajput 
are also to be found among the Mahars. In the quarrels that 
have taken place between the Brahmins on the one hand 
and the Marathas on the other on the issue whether the 
latter were Kshatriyas or not, the test sought to be applied 
was whether the ‘Kul’ of the claimant was one of the 96 
Kuls’ which were admittedly belonged to the Rajputs in 
whose status as Kshatriyas was beyond question. Now if this 
test was applied to the Mahars, there could be no question 
that the Mahars would have to be pronounced as belonging 
originally to the Rajput that is to say to the Kshatriya class. 
It is suggested that the Mahars have been appropriating 
the Kuls’ of the Rajputs since very recently with the idea of 
improving their social standing. That evidently is a mistake. 
There is a long tradition among the Mahars that they belong 
to what is called the ‘Somavansh’ which is one of the two 
branches of the Kshatriyas, that the Mahars have had these 
‘gotras’ from long past and have not appropriated to them in 
recent times is clear from the fact that as long ago as the 
Court of Enquiry held by the Brahmins into the status of the 
last Maratha King of Satara, namely Pratapsing whom the 
Brahmins refused to recognise as a Kshatriya. One party of 
the Brahmins who favoured the side of Pratapsing contended 
that as the Bhonsale Kul was one of the 96 Kuls of the 
Rajputs, and as the Rajputs were recognised as Kshatriyas, 
Pratapsing must be propouned as a Kshatriya. The other 
side in reply to this contention propounded a conundrum. It 
contended that if that argument was sound, all the Mahars 
would have to be pronounced as Kshatriya because they too 
had Kuls’ like those of the Rajputs. Apart from the validity 
of the view as a test, the fact remains that the Kuls which 
the Mahars have appropriated is no new phenomenon. This 
is one consideration in support of the view that the Mahars 
are not aboriginals. 

The second consideration in support of this view is the word of 
salutation which is peculiar to the Mahars. The word of salutation 
used by the Mahars is Johar. This word is undoubtedly a corrupt 
form of the Sanskrit word ‘Yoddhar’. It is well-known that 


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THE MAHARS : UNTOUCHABLES ? 141 

in ancient Vedic times the Brahmins and the Kshatriyas had 
adopted separate words of salutation. The Brahmins said 
‘Namaskar’ : the Kshatriyas said ‘Yoddhar’. It is difficult to 
conceive that the Mahars should have been allowed to use 
the term ‘Yoddhar’ as a word of salute if they were a body of 
low class ; or if they were aboriginals particularly because the 
word of salute among the Chamars and the Mangs is quite a 
different word having not the remotest connection with the 
status of the Kshatriya. The Mangs used the word ‘Furman’ 
which seems to be a corruption of the word ‘Far man’ meaning 
‘command’. The Chamars used the word ‘Duffarao’ a word of 
which I am unable to give the derivative : but the fact remains 
that only the Mahar Community uses as its word of salutation 
the word ‘Johar’ which as I have stated above was a word 
which was in exclusive use by the Kshatriyas as a word of 
salutation. There is no doubt that the Marathas too at one 
time used the term ‘Johar’ as a word of salutation. It was in 
vogue during apart of Shivaji’s rule; and even Shivaji in the 
one and the only letter admitted to have been signed by him 
in his own hand and addressed to Maloji Ghorpade has used 
the word ‘Johar’ as the word of salutation. It is well-known 
that the Marathas since after Shivaji began to use ‘Ram Ram’ 
in place of ‘Johar’ as a word of salutation. It is curious that 
the Mahars did not follow suit. Why the Mahars continued 
to use the word ‘Johar’ even when the Marathas had given 
it out and why were they allowed by the State to continue 
‘Johar’ when the State enforced Ram Ram’ on all others, 
are questions which require some elucidation. But the fact 
remains that ‘Johar’ is indicative of the status of a Kshatriya. 

There is one other matter to which attention must be 
drawn because it militates against the view which I am 
supporting namely that the Mahars are not aboriginals and 
that they really belonged to the Maratha community and 
at one time were reckoned as Kshatriyas. The fact is the 
custom prevalent among the Mahars of burying the dead 
body when as a matter of theory and practice the Marathas 
and the Kshatriyas have the custom of burning the dead. The 
existence of this custom of burying the dead must be admitted 
but to admit the existence of the custom is not to admit the 


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142 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

form of the conclusion that is sought to be derived from it. In 
the first place, there are indications that this custom of burying 
the dead is not original. But the original custom among the 
Mahars was to burn the dead seems to be supported by the 
fact that even though the Mahars bury the dead they still 
carry with them to the cemetery cinders and burning coal in 
an earthen pot along with the corpse. 

There must have been some purpose for such an act and 
there could be no conceivable purpose except to use the fire 
for burning the dead. Why the custom of burning the dead 
gave place among the Mahars to the custom of burying the 
dead, it is difficult to give a precise reason. But it seems that 
the burying of the dead was a custom which was enforced 
upon the Mahars at some later date when the Mahars had 
become fallen in the status and classed as Untouchables. 
Considerable support can be found for this view from what 
the Padma-Puran contains. It is stated in the Padma-Puran 
that certain communities were prevented from burning their 
dead because burning the dead was a privilege of the three 
regenerate classes. If this is correct then the custom of burying 
the dead could not outweigh the everwhelming evidence which 
goes to show that the Mahars are not aboriginals and they 
might as well have been in times past part of the Marathas 
by race and Kshatriyas by status. 

II 

Why do they live outside the Village ? 

It is notorious that the Mahars live outside the village. 
This is a fact which it is difficult to sense at any rate for 
foreigners for the reason that the village is generally built 
on an open site without any indication of its boundaries. But 
two things demonstrate incontrovertibly that the Mahars are 
reckoned as being outside the village. Every villager makes a 
distinction between the village as such and the Maharwada 
meaning thereby that the Mahar-Wada, that is to say the 
settlement of the Mahars is not within what is meant by the 
village. A more occular demonstration is afforded wherever 
village has its wall. Wherever a village has had a well known 
in vernacular as ‘Gavkus ’ it will be noticed that the settlement 
of the Mahars is always outside the wall. Now this fact read 
in the light of what has been said in this paper in connection 


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THE MAHARS : UNTOUCHABLES ? 143 

with the first question gives considerable significance to the 
second question. If the Mahars are not an aboriginals race 
why are they treated as the reject of the society, and made to 
live outside the village community. The most natural answer 
which strikes one as being a true answer is what one finds 
in the injunctions contained in the code of Manu. Speaking of 
the Chandal, Manu lays down that he should be compelled to 
live outside the boundary of a village. Generalising from what 
Manu has said about the Chandal it might be guessed that 
what was said by him of the Chandals was imposed upon all 
similar classes by the Hindu Rulers in all its rigour. On a 
deeper consideration I find that this cannot be the answer to 
the question raised. What Manu has stated is not so much the 
original command of the law-giver. What Manu has done in my 
judgment is to recognise what had happened as a result of the 
forces operating during the historical period and made the real 
his ideal because it suited the purpose he had in mind. The 
answer to the question must be looked for in quite a different 
direction. The direction in which a true answer can be found 
lies in my view in the field of study which relates to the period 
when a pastoral Community became a settled community. It 
must be a matter of common knowledge to all students of 
the growth of civilization that the form of the wealth of the 
community was the chief determining factor in determining the 
habits. The pastoral people never settled anywhere but lived a 
nomadic life imigrating from place to place because their wealth 
consisted in sheep and cattle and the sheep and cattle moved 
from place to place those owned it also moved whenever their 
wealth carried them. A community which had learned the art 
of cultivating the land and valuing its produce gave up their 
nomadic life and settled at one place undoubtedly because their 
wealth consisted of immoveable property namely land. Now 
this process whereby nomadic life gave place to a settled life 
has been a long drawn out process : A process in which some 
roamed about and some were settling down. It must also be 
well known to students of early history of human civilization 
that all social life in those early days was organised into tribes 
and these tribes were often at war with one another. Now in 
the light of these considerations one must reach back to the 
beginning when communities or tribes began to cease to be 
nomadic and became settled and imagine what must be the 


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144 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

needs which they must have felt as the most supreme needs 
of the earth. Here was a tribe which had settled down and 
formed a settlement now spoken of as village. It is possessed 
of gray com. It is possessed of sheep and cattle. On the 
other hand, it is surrounded by tribes which are nomadic 
and which are casting covetous eyes on the grain and the 
cows and the sheep which it owns. Obviously the first and 
the foremost question to such a settled tribe would be to 
protect itself against the raids and invasions of the nomadic 
tribes. How could they protect themselves? How could they 
provide this protection ? Obviously they themselves cannot 
engage in constant warfare whether defensive or offensive 
for the protection either of their corn or of their cattle. For 
their energy is all absorbed in the pursuit of agriculture, an 
occupation to which they are new and for which they have 
to depend upon their own manual labour. The only way they 
could protect themselves is to look to their tribal chief. But 
how could the tribal chief protect his tribe which is settled 
and engaged in tilling the soil assiduously that it can find 
neither time nor men from its own who would take up arms 
on its behalf. The tribal chief must, therefore, look to some 
other source for raising a force to act under his command 
in defence of his tribe against the invasions of the nomads. 
From what quarters can the tribal chief secure recruits for his 
defence force. Obviously from one source. Here not very far 
there are tribal wars going on. One tribe waging a war against 
another tribe. In this warfare a tribe is routed and the men 
belonging to one tribe are broken up by defeat and parties of 
them small disheartened and fearful of their own safety are 
moving about in search of a safe place. How excellent would 
it be both for the chief of the settled tribe and the broken 
men of a defeated tribe if destiny would bring them together. 
The chief of the settled tribe would get the force he needs to 
protect his tribe without disturbing the occupation of the tribe. 
The men of the broken tribe would get an assured subsistence 
in return for service to the village community and also get 
the chieftain’s protection. But having got the men from the 
broken tribe next question for the tribal chief to consider is 
where to settle these men. They could not be allowed to settle 
in the midst of the settled community because they belonged 
to a different tribe, and were not kindred. Only kindred could 
live within the settlement of the tribe. 


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THE MAHARS : UNTOUCHABLES ? 145 

Obviously the only way by which the chieftain could settle 
the broken men of another tribe whom he needs as a force to 
be employed in defence of the settled community was to settle 
them beyond the limits of the settlements made by his tribes. 
This is the process which alone can explain in my judgment why 
the Mahars live outside the limits of the village. The Mahars 
are broken men of tribes which in primitive times were warring 
with one another. They were taken hold of by the chief of the 
settled community namely the Patil of the village and were 
allowed to settle on the confines of his village. They did for him 
the duty of watch and ward, and were given in return certain 
sites. There is nothing strange in the Mahars living outside the 
village limits. There is nothing in that fact which can signify 
that they belonged to a lower status and that on that account 
they were made to live outside the village limits, that they were 
brought to the village by the village headman for the defence 
of his community and that they were made to live outside their 
village limits not because they were of a low status but because 
they belonged to another tribe is a conclusion which can be 
supported by reference to what has happned in Wales or Ireland. 
A study of the Brehon Laws of Ireland which gives the tribal 
organisation of the Irish discloses that the Irish too had their 
village community which was a settled community and on the 
borders of the settlement of the community there lived a body 
of people who were known as Boairs. The Boairs were remnants 
of a broken tribe which were brought by the village chieftain 
for service under him and in the interest of the protection of 
the community. Exactly the same state of affairs existed in the 
Wales villages known as Gwelleys. Every Gwelley had a body 
of strangers settled on his confines. They were called Alltud. 
They too were parts of a broken tribe brought by the chieftain 
of the Gwelley for the protection of the Gwelley. This is in my 
judgement the only satisfactory answer to the question. The 
question, however, remains as to why the Mahars continued 
to live as a separate community when in Ireland and in Wales 
the Alltuds and the Boairs in course of time ceased to remain 
distinct communities, and became absorbed in the general 
mass of the village population. The answer to this question is 
not difficult. It is that, it was the development of the system 
of caste and Untouchability which has prevented this fusion. 
But this of course raises by anticipation the third and the last 
question which is raised for discussion in this paper. 


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146 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

hi 

Why are the Mahars classed as Untouchable ? 

The origin of Untouchability is to be sought in the struggles 
of Brahminism against Buddhism. This is a strange answer to 
the question but there is no doubt that it is the true answer. 
In order to make matters clear it is necessary to explain the 
principles for which Buddhism stood. It is unnecessary to go 
into all the details. It would be sufficient to state that one 
of the things which Buddha opposed most strenuously was 
Yadnya which was the chief and principal form of religion 
of the Aryans. The Yadnya involved the sacrifice of the cow. 

The cow was the most important animal in the Aryan 
economy. The whole system of agriculture depended upon the 
cow. The cow gave milk which formed the chief sustenance 
of the people and the cow gave birth to bullocks which 
served as animals necessary for the cultivation of the land. 
Although the Buddha’s objections to the Yadnya were based 
on philosophical grounds the common mass of the people 
whose intellect could not travel beyond the realities of life 
gathered round the banner of Buddhism because they could 
see that it was intended to save the cow from the incessant 
slaughter to which that animal was subjected by the Brahmins 
for sacrificial purposes. The cow, therefore, became at first an 
object of special consideration and lastly of veneration. The 
Brahmins whose supremacy was seriously jeopardised by the 
people refusing to consent to the sacrifice of the cow had to 
devise some means whereby they could win back the heart 
of the masses who had gone over to Buddhism. How did the 
Brahmins do this ? The reverence of the cow created by the 
Buddhist religion had gone so deep down into the minds of 
the people that it was impossible for the Brahmins to do 
anything else to do except to give up their Yadnya and begin 
instead to reverence and worship the cow as the Buddhists 
did. But that was not enough. The Brahmins in their struggles 
against Buddhism were not actuated by any pious motive 
of religious consideration. They were actuated by a purely 
political motive namely to regain the power and prestige they 
possessed over the masses and which had been transferred to 
the Buddhist Bhikkhus. They knew that if they were to gain 
any ascendency over the Buddhist, they must go a step further 


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THE MAHARS : UNTOUCHABLES ? 147 

than the Buddhists had gone, and they did go a step further, 
and proclaimed that not only they shall kill the cow but they 
shall not kill any animals or destroy any living creature. The 
origin of the vegetarianism prevalent among the Brahmins is 
to be found in the strategical move which the Brahmins of 
the past took as a means of out-bidding the Buddhists. 

Along with this, one other thing must be borne in mind. 
Before the Buddhist times and upto the period of Asoka beef 
was a food common to all classes, the Brahmins, the Kshatriyas, 
the Vaishyas and the Shudras. There is nothing repugnant 
in that. The cow was just an animal as the sheep or the 
goat or the deer was. Consequently, although the population 
was divided into four classes, the four classes did not differ 
in the matter of their food, and particularly all ate beef. The 
only difference probably was that some ate meat of animals 
that were slaughtered. This was possible for those who could 
afford to buy. The rest who were poor were used to eat the 
flesh of dead animals either because the well-to-do did not 
care to use it as food. It is quite conceivable also that the 
village chieftain gave the carcasses of dead cows and dead 
animals to the men belonging to the broken tribes who had 
settled on the confines of the village by way of remuneration 
for the services which they rendered to the settled community. 
Without doing any voilence to truth, one could say that, 
before the Asoka period so, far as the eating of the cow’s 
flesh was concerned, there was no difference whatsoever. 
All ate cow’s meat. The only difference that existed was this 
namely that the village people ate slaughtered meat while 
those living outside the village ate the flesh of the dead cow. 
This difference must be noted, it had no religious or social 
significance. It was just the difference of the rich and the 
poor connotation. After the Buddhist times and especially in 
the period of Asoka an important change takes place. Cow- 
killing was either given up voluntarilty or was stopped by the 
State. The result was a sharp difference arose. The villages 
ceased to eat beef becasue they lived on slaughtered meat 
and as the slaughter being stopped thay ceased to eat beef. 
The broken tribe-men who lived on the border continued to 
eat the flesh of the dead cow. It was unnecessary to prohibit 
them because it did not involve the Himsa of the cow. Now, 
this division namely those who did not eat beef at all and 


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148 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

those who did was not a mere economic difference. It was 
a difference which gave rise to religious considerations. The 
killing of the cow had become a notion which from the point 
of view of religion has become repugnant. And a class which 
dealt with the dead cow also became a repugnant class. 
Untouchability has its origin in this notion of repugnance. 
And that notion of repugnance is based upon the reverence or 
irreverence to the cow. The Brahmins who out of consideration 
of their own self-interest agreed to reverence the cow and 
worship it. It went so far as to treat any class which had 
anything to do with the cow in a manner incompatible 
with reverence to the cow, Untouchable are not worthy of 
association. 

That, this is the origin of Untouchability and that this is the 
reason why Mahars have come to be regarded as Untouchables 
can be seen if any one who cares to prove into the subject and 
to find out what are the special pursuits of these communities 
in India who have misfortune of being treated as Untouchable 
communities. An enquiry into the subject would show that 
all-over India the Untouchables perform certain duties which 
are common to them. These duties relate to the carrying of the 
dead cow, skinning the carcass, eating the flesh, selling the 
bones etc. There is no exception to this proposition. It applies 
in all cases and to all provinces. Why there should be such 
close association between the dead cow and Untouchability ? 
Why do the two go together ? My answer is they go together 
because one is the cause of the other. Untouchability has arisen 
out of the repugnance of the Hindu community, which as a 
result of Buddhism developed a reverence of the cow, towards 
those who have not ceased to eat the cow. The Mahars had 
not ceased to eat the dead cow and consequently became the 
object and victims of this repugnance. 

Jc ic ic 

The three questions profounded in this paper have now 
been answered. There, however, remains one more question 
and it is this : Why were the Mahars called Mahars ? 

Many have attempted to give a definition but of all the 
definitions the one given by Doctor Bhandarkar seems to be the 
correct one. According to Dr. Bhandarkar, the word Mahar is a 


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THE MAHARS : UNTOUCHABLES ? 149 

corruption of the word Mrut Ahar-those who live on dead meat. 
It accords with what has been stated above in discussing the 
question of the origin of Untouchability. But in this connection 
there arise two other subsidiary questions. One is why was this 
particular feature of the Mahars, life taken as a basis for so 
designating them. The answer to this has already been given 
but it may be summarised here because it goes to strengthen 
the correctness of the derivation of the term Mahar. As I have 
already said the eating of the cow’s flesh was at one time 
so universal that nobody ever cared to note the fact. Even 
when some ate slaughtered meat and some ate dead meat the 
difference had only economic significance but no religious or 
social significance. But when all had given up eating cow’s 
meat those who continued to eat presented a difference 
which was noticeable to the naked eye and significant to the 
religious mind. It is, therefore, natural that the difference so 
obvious and so signficant should have been made by the rest 
of the population a basis of designating that class. But this 
derivation of the term Mahar creates a difficulty which must 
be grappled with. If this is the correct definition of the term 
and if these are the reasons why it came into vogue, it must 
have come into operation when the difference became sharp 
and significant. What was the name by which the Mahars 
were known in history before they began to be called as 
Mahars ? That the name Mahar is a new name admits of no 
doubt because it does not occur anywhere either in literature 
or history before the time of Dnyaneshwar. This, however, 
makes the other question more important namely what was 
the name by which they were called before the name, Mahar 
became their common name. Now, it is well-known that the 
Mahars are also called Parwari. This name has never gone 
out of name, and has continued to exist side by side with 
their name Mahar, although the name Mahar became more 
prominent. But in times past the name Parwari was more 
prominently used than the name Mahar. For instance, during 
the time of East India Company, Mahars were very largely 
employed in the Company’s army as soldiers and officers. In 
their caste columns they were all designated as Parwaris. There 
is, therefore, no question that the Mahars had this their other 
name. And I venture to say that this was the name by which the 
Mahars were called before the name Mahar came into being. 


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150 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

That this name Parwari is a very ancient name is proved by the 
fact that it occurs in Ptolemy’s. He uses the word ‘Pauravardi’ 
which probably is a misspelling or mispronounciation of the 
word Parwari*. What does the word Parvari mean ? It is, of 
course, a difficult question to answer. For all that one knows 
it means dependence which is the root meaning of the word 
Pariwar’ of which ‘ Parwari ’ appears to be corruption. The 
broken tribes even undoubtedly dependent for their means 
of livelihood upon the village community and the village 
community might very appropriately designated by the 
descriptive name Parwari those broken tribe men who were 
strangers to the community but were dependent upon it. It 
might be mentioned here that the term Parwari’ which was 
in vogue was not confined to what is known as the Mahar 
community. It was used in a general sense. As there is 
documentary evidence to show that at any rate it included also 
the community which is now known as the Mang community. 
The term ‘ Parwari ’, therefore, seems to have been applied 
to all men who came and settled as strangers to the village 
community. Not only the term Parwari’ is a composite term 
but the term Mahar is also a composite term and does not 
connote a common origin. The Mahar community appears to 
be composite community and includes within it a strata which 
is high in origin and a strata which is low in origin. This is 
indicated by the different ‘Kuls’ of the Mahars. Those whose 
‘Kuls’ fall within the 96 belong to the higher strata, those 
whose Kuls’ do not fall within them fall in the lower strata. 
But a common name Mahar which has been in existence 
for the last so many hundred years has produced in them 
a consciousness of kind which has destroyed any notions of 
high or low. But it is just as well for students of ethnology 
that what is now known as Mahar community is in its origin 
a conglomeration of broken parts of different tribes who had 
nothing in common except that they were the ‘Parwaris’, that 
is, the dependents of the village community. 


• • 


*The word ‘Parwari’ has been used in a Government letter of state of 
Baroda also. For the same see Appendix No. VII on Page No. 472 in 
Part 1 of this Volume. — Editors. 


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22 

REPUBLICAN PARTY STANDS FOR LIBERTY, 
EQUALITY, FRATERNITY AND JUSTICE 

As per the decision of Dr. B. R. Ambedkar regarding 
conversion, he proclaimed in May 1956 that he would 
embrace the Buddhism in October 1956. Simultaneously 
he was concretly thinking of forming a new political party 
based on the Principles enshrined in the Constitution of 
India. 

Formation of ‘Independent Labour Party’ in 1936, 
‘Scheduled Castes Federation’ in 1942 and the decision to 
establish Rupublican Party of India, explains his strenuous 
exertion to bring his vision into reality through an ideal 
political party. 

In order to give shape to his foresight, Dr. B. R. Ambedkar 
decisively prepared a Blue Print of the Republican Party 
of India. The Marathi translation of the Blue Print by 
Mr. D. T. Rupwate was later on published in ‘Prabuddha 
Bharat: Republican Party Establishment issue - 1957’ 
under the title ‘Open letter of Parampujya Dr. Babasaheb 
Ambedkar to the Indians regarding formation of Republican 
Party of India.’ 

The blue print contains five chapters as under : 

Chapter- 1 :How a movement becomes a Political Party ? 

Chapter-2 : Conditions precedent for the successful 
working of democracy. 

Chapter-3: Why Parliamentary Government needs an 
opposition Party ? 

Chapter-4 :What is a Party ? 

Chapter-5 :Aims and Objects of the Party. 

Accordingly the news about the formation of ‘the Republican 
Party of India’ appeared in the issue of ‘Janata’ dated 10th 


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152 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

December 1955. In this regard he made a correspondence 
with his likeminded contemporaries like Dr. Ram Manohar 
Lohia. 

The Executive Committee of the Scheduled Castes 
Federation was held on 30th September 1956 at the residence 
of Dr. B. R. Ambedkar at New Delhi. Dr. Ambedkar presided 
over the meeting. As per resolution No. 2 passed in the 
meeting, it was unanimously decided that by dissolving the 
Scheduled Castes Federation, the new political party having 
name ‘Republican Party’ be established. 1 

Dr. B. R. Ambedkar addressed a Press Conference on 13th 
October 1956, at Nagpur wherein he categorically stated that 
he had already drafted Constitution of the Republican Party. 2 . 

Editors-R. Chandidas, Ward Morehouse, Leon Clark and 
Richard Fontera — of the volume ‘India Votes’ mentioned the 
distinctive features of the Republican Party as follows : 

“REPUBLICAN Party of India is an All India Political 
Party founded by Late Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar who was 
the great political thinker, great social revolutionary, and 
the great Constitutional expert. He dedicated his life to the 
cause of reconstructing the Indian society based on liberty, 
equality and fraternity. The Republican Party of India 
dedicates itself to this great task: 

Republican Party of India Stands for Parliamentary 
Democracy. 

1. The Republican Party of India will stand for the 
Parliamentary system of Government as being the best form 
of Government both in the interest of the public and in the 
interest of the individual. 

Secularism uphold 

2. The Republican Party of India upholds the secular 
character of the State.” 3 

1. Prabuddha Bharat: 6th and 13th Oct. 1956. 

2. Prabuddha Bharat: Dr. Ambedkar : Convertion to Buddhism, Special 

Number, 27th October 1956. 

3. India Votes, P. 85. 


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REPUBLICAN AND JUSTICE 153 

Following is the text of Blue Print — 

Chapter 1 

How a Movement Becomes a Political Party 

Indian Congress was established in 1885. Upto 1947 
it worked as a movement for the achievement of Indian 
Freedom. It had no defined goal to start with. It began 
with the demand for good government. After some time it 
changed its goal. It defined it as self-government. British 
Political thinking divided it as self-government into two (1) 
Dominion Status and (2) Independence. By Dominion Status 
was meant independence with loyalty to a Common King. 
By Independence was meant independence without loyalty 
to the King. 

For some time the Indian Congress was agreeable to 
Dominion Status. But a very short while, the Indian Congress 
in a very dramatic way passed in 1930 a resolution in favour 
of Independence which it got in 1947. 

Upto this time the Congress was like an army recruited 
not for the purpose of carrying on Parlimentary Democracy 
but for the purpose of carrying on political warfare against 
a foreign government. Seeing this Mr. Gandhi very wisely 
suggested that the Congress be dissolved and the new 
political parties on party lines be formed for conducting 
the Government. But the leaders of the Party were ready 
in their tents with their clothes to take in their hands the 
reins of Government. They refused to listen to Mr. Gandhi’s 
advice. Ordinarily after peace the army which has fought the 
way is dissolved. For the simple reason that during a war 
standards of recruitment are lowered and everybody good, 
bad and indifferent is allowed to join. In the case of India 
the army is not only dissolved but is allowed to capture the 
Government. 

We have had ten years experience of the Congress 
Government. One can say that it is not very credible. Time 
has come when Mr. Gandhi’s advice be taken seriously and 
we proceed to form another party which would work as an 
Opposition Party. 


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154 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

Chapter 2 

This Chapter consists of the text of Dr. B. R. Ambedkar’ 
s address delivered at Pune on Monday, the 22nd December 
1952* under the title, “Conditions precedent for the successful 
working of Democrary. — Editors. 

Chapter 3 

Why Parliamentary Government needs an opposition 
Party ? 

Parliamentary Democracy cannot work without the people 
of educated public opinion. Both Government and Parliament 
to act rightly must know what public opinion is. 

To make it clear, it is necessary to make a distinction 
between education and propaganda. Government by 
Propaganda is quite a different thing from Government by 
Education. Propaganda means presentation of the pros of the 
matter. Education means Government after hearing pros and 
cons. 

If it is necessary to have both pros and cons presented to 
the people with regard to any matter calling for the decision 
of Parliament, then it is obvious that there must be two 
parties, one party presenting the pros and the other cons, 
with the existence of party there is nothing but dictatorship. 
To avoid dictatorship there is a necessity for a second party. 
This is a crucial matter. People are more concerned with good 
administration than with good laws. Laws may be good but 
its administration may be bad. 

Whatever the administration of laws turns out to be good 
or bad depends upon the freedom of officer who is appointed 
to administer it. When there is only one party, the officer is 
at the mercy of his political chief called the Minister. The 
Minister’s existence depends upon pleasing the voters and 
often the Minister is required to force the officer to do wrong 
to benefit the voters. If there was an opposition party, such 
action of the Minister would be exposed and the mischief 
stopped. 


* Since the speech is published on Pp. 472-486 in Part 3 of this Volume 
the text is not reproduced here. 


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REPUBLICAN AND JUSTICE 155 

Next perhaps to good administration what people want is 
freedom of speech and the freedom from arrest. When there is 
an opposition party, there is freedom of speech and freedom 
of action. They are in danger when there is no opposition. 
For no one can raise the question why a particular person is 
stopped from speaking or prevented from not moving to his 
destiny. 

These are the grounds why an opposition party is necessary. 
In all countries where there is Parliamentary Government the 
opposition is recognized as a political institution. 

In England and Canada the opposition is a legally 
recognized body, and Parliament in both countries pays the 
leader of the opposition a salary so that he can carry out his 
Parliamentary duties without difficulties. 

Chapter 4 
What is a party ? 

Party is like an army. It must have : — 

(1) A Leader who is like a Commander-in-chief. 

(2) An Organisation which includes — 

(i) Membership (ii) A ground plan (iii) Discipline. 

(3) It must have principles and policy. 

(4) It must have programmes or plan of work. 

(5) It must have tactics and strategy i.e. it must plan when 
to do what and how to reach its goal. 

To put in simple terms it is an association of voters with 
certain objects. 

(1) To promote the formation and development of a Party 
Organisation and foster party through it. 

(2) to disseminate party principles through the press and 
by means of lectures, speeches, literature etc. 

(3) to serve as a basis of united political action by the 
formation of a political party to represent the members of the 
association in the Legislature to be called the Republican Party. 


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156 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

Chapter-5 

Aims and Objects of the Party 

1. The Preamble to the Constitution of India says — 
WE, THE PEOPLE OF INDIA, having solemnly resolved 
to constitute India into a SOVEREIGN DEMOCRATIC 
REPUBLIC and to secure to all its citizens : 

JUSTICE, Social, economic and political; 

LIBERTY of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship. 

EQUALITY of status and of opportunity; and to promote 
among all; Fraternity assuring the dignity of the individual 
and the unity of the Nation : 

IN OUR CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY THIS twenty-sixth 
day of November 1949, do HEREBY ADOPT, ENACT AND 
GIVE TO OURSELVES THIS CONSTITUTION. 

To realise the aims and objects set out in the Preamble 
namely JUSTICE, LIBERTY, EQUALITY and FRATERNITY 
WOULD constitute the aims and objects of the REPUBLICAN 
PARTY. 

These being the aims and objects of the Party, the attitude 
of the Party in public affairs will be governed by the following 
principles : — 

(1) It will treat all Indians not only as being equal before 
the law but as being entitled to equality and will accordingly 
foster equality where it does not exist and uphold it where 
it is denied. 

(2) It will regard every Indian as an end in Himself with 
a right to his own development in his own way and the State 
as only a means to that end. 

(3) It will sustain the right of every Indian to freedom, 
religious, economic and political- subject to such limitations as 
may arise out of the need for the protection of the interest of 
other Indians or the State. 

(4) It will uphold the right of every Indian to equality of 
opportunity subject to the provision that those who have had 
none in the past shall have priority over those who had. 


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REPUBLICAN AND JUSTICE 157 

(5) It will keep the State ever aware of its obligations to 
make every Indian free from want and free from fear. 

(6) It will insist on the maintenance of liberty, equality 
and fraternity and will strive for redemption from oppression 
and exploitation of man by man, of class by class and of 
nation by nation. 

(7) It will stand for the Parliamentary System of Government 
as being the best form of Government both in the interest of 
public and in the interest of the individual.” 


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23 

‘BUDDHA AND HIS DHAMMA’ 
ONE OF THE THREE 


“The Preface to Buddha and His Dhamma’ was written by 
Dr. B. R. Ambedkar on March 15,1956, in his own splendid 
way, in long hand, running into 13 long sheets. Thrice he 
changed pens to complete it. To make it abundantly clear- 
leaving no scope for a doubt, concluding para of the ‘Preface’ 
reproduced hereunder, bear testimony to what has been stated. 


, ' ^ 

- * r lUc 


r ^ ~ 

^ c cwL-w 

rft<vX 

-t 


** 

/S 




I may mention that this is one of the three books which 
will form a group for the proper understanding of Buddhism. 
The other two books are (1) Buddha and Karl Marx and (2) 
Revolution and Counter Revolution in ancient India. They are 
wtitten out in parts. I hope to publish them soon. 


15th March 1956. 


(Sd.) B. R. Ambedkar” 1 

• • 


1 : Rattu Nanakchand : Last few years of Dr. Ambedkar, P. 197. 


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24 

TRAINING SCHOOL FOR ENTRANCE TO 
POLITICS 

Editorial Note 

In 1962, a resolution was moved by Prof. K. T. Shah in the 
Parliament whether there should be any formal qualifications 
for the members of Parliament and State Legislatures. The 
Members felt that there should be some minimum eduational 
qualifications. But such a prescription would deprive a large 
number of people from contesting. On this, Dr. Ambedkar, 
as Minister of Law, suggested that instead of any formal 
qualifications, the contestants should have knowledge 
C Pradnya ) and Charater (Sheet). Relevant extract of his speech 
is as follows : 

“However, I suppose those who have supported his 
resolution have correctly interpreted his mind and taking 
into account the various speeches that have been made in 
support of Prof. Shah’s Resolution, it appears that many 
members who are keen about adding some qualification other 
than those mentioned in the Constitution have in their mind 
some kind of an educational qualification. But none of them 
has been very precise : none of them has given me any idea 
as to what is the standard of education that they would like 
to prescribe in order that the candidate may become lawfully 
entitled to stand. 

Now it seems to me that education can hardly be the sole 
qualification for membership of this House. If I may use the 
words of Buddha, he said that man requires two things. One 
is Gyan and the other is Sheel. Gyan without Sheel is very 
dangerous : it must be accompanied by Sheel, by which we 
mean character, moral courage, ability to be independent of 
any kind of temptation, truthful to one’s ideals. I did not find 
any reference to the second qualification in the speeches I have 
heard from Members who have supported Prof. Shah. But 
even though I myself, am very keen to see that no Member 
enters this August Assembly, who does not possess Sheel in 
adequate degree, I find it extremely difficult to find any means 
or methods to ensure that valuable qualification. 


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160 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

Coming to the question of education, I do not wish to be 
understood that I regard ignorance to be a virtue : let that 
be quite clear. I regard education to be a very necessary 
qualification for possessing that degree of competence 
which is very necessary for the performance of one’s duty. 
In this House there are people who, although they are 
not educated, are very competent to voice the grievances 
of the class whom they represent. I am sure about it. A 
more educated person would not be able to discharge that 
function, because he does not know and does not have that 
experience. But my friends who come from these classes 
and with whom I have naturally very great sympathy 
do not realise that what is more necessary for bringing 
relief to the class of people whom they represent is not 
merely making speeches in this House but to suggest 
remedies for the removal of their grievances. To make 
speeches and to ventilate grievances is a very easy matter 
but to formulate remedies is a very difficult matter. It 
requires education and therefore education even from the 
standpoint of the backward classes, scheduled classes or 
tribal areas is a very necessary ingredient. How can we 
ensure it ? When I examined the suggestion that there 
ought to be some kind of educational qualification, I 
found that a proposition which is very good in theory or 
in its academic aspect cannot be given effect to without 
producing other evils. That is my difficulty. Where will 
you fix the standard? Will you say that only B. As. should 
be qualified to be Members of this House? Supposing you 
do that, what is the result ? Members probably might 
know that there are many people who are educationally 
and intellectually far more competent than any graduate, 
although they have never been inside any college or 
university. There are any number of them. Are you going 
to shut out these people who have privately educated 
themselves, who are equally competent or better than B.As. 
or M.As., merely because they have not been able to obtain 
a certificate from a university ? I think that would be a 
very unfortunate result. 


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TRAINING SCHOOL TO POLITICS 161 

Take another consequence. In this country education is 
in the lowest grade. Not only that is so but for some reason 
which all of us know, education has not been universally 
spread among all the communities in this country. There 
are communities which are highly educated and there are 
communities where education is very, very low. Supposing you 
make B. A. or even matriculation as a standard, are you not 
making the membership of this House to be a monopoly of 
the few ? I fear that will be the consequence, supposing you 
lower down your standard, say, for instance, to the fourth 
standard, to the study of the three ‘R’s. or to literacy in order 
that no community may be excluded from the opportunity of 
sending its members to this House. Is that qualification any 
good ? It is of no value at all. 

Therefore, my submission is this, that it is a good thing. I 
am not going to outcry the feeling that there ought to be some 
education in Members who come to represent their various 
constituencies in this House. But I just cannot see how you 
can give legal effect to it. Therefore, my suggestion is that this 
is a matter which had better be left to the people themselves, 
or to the political parties who will run the Government. I 
have no doubt about it that if the political parties, for their 
own particular purposes, do not attend to this matter, people 
themselves in course of time will attend to it. People are not 
going to allow persons who cannot discharge their functions 
properly in this House to be continued and returned for ever. 
They want results. They want their welfare to be attended 
to, and I am sure about it that they will realise that the only 
instrumentality through which they can achieve this purpose 
is to send good men to this House. Therefore, I think the 
proper course is to leave the matter to the people .” 1 

Dr. Ambedkar was very much aware that although the 
elected candidates may have knowledge and character, 
but still, they need to possess a training of parliamentary 
legislative procedures. With this thought lingering in his mind, 
he proposed to establish a ‘Training School for Entrance to 
Politics.’ 


1 : Writings and speeches, Vol. 15, Pp 189-191. 


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162 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

In order to invigorate the democratic forces in India and 
to bring new blood in his proposed Republican Party, Dr. B. 
R. Ambedkar established ‘The Training School for Entrance 
to Politics’ in July, 1956. Dr. Ambedkar was the Director and 
Shri S. S. Rege was the Registrar. The school was meant for 
those who cherished the ambition of joining the legislature 
and it was the first of its kind in the country. He insisted 
that the new comers must develop oratory in order to put 
forth their views on various subjects like Economics, Political, 
Social and Parliamentary procedural matters. 

He was in search of a principal with a good personality, 
wellversed in the subject, having a good delivery on an 
attractive personality. He was convinced that the reputation 
of the school greatly depends upon the ability and speaking 
capacity of the teacher. The school started with 15 students 
and worked from July, 1, 1956 to March 1957. 

Dr. Ambedkar planned to deliver lectures on oratory in 
the month of December 1956 for the students of this school. 
But due to untimely demise he could not visit the school. 1 


• • 


1 : Keer, Pp. 491-492 and Rege, Pp. 80-81. 


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SECTION II 

DR. B. R. AMBEDKAR 
ON CABINET MISSION AND 
TRANSFER OF POWER 


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CABINET MISSION AND TRANSFER 
OF POWER 

Editorial — Note 

“The patriotic upsurge emanated from the I.N.A. Revolt 
and their Trials, the Revolt raised by the Royal Indian Naval 
Ratings and the Royal Indian Air Force seemed to break 
down the imperial structure. It was a clear indication that 
the Indian army was feeling and experiencing the pangs of 
freedom. Politics and nationalism had reached their ranks 
and magnetized their hearts. The Britishers knew that it 
was no longer possible for them to keep India in bondage. 
So on March 15, 1946, the British Prime Minister, Clement 
Atlee, acknowledged India’s right to attain full independence 
within or even without the British Commonwealth and said 
that they would not allow a minority to place their veto 
on the advance of the majority. 

The British Premier sent out a delegation of three 
Cabinet Ministers, Sir Stafford Cripps, A.V. Alexander 
and Lord Pethick Lawrence who was then the Secretary 
of State for India, to discuss with Indian party leaders on 
the spot the question of resolving the political deadlock. 
The British Cabinet delegation* reached New Delhi on 
March 24, 1946.” 

“Dr. Ambedkar was authorised by the Scheduled Castes 
Federation to place memorandum before the Cabinet 
Mission and plead the Scheduled Castes’ case with all 
force and insight. He emphasised the need of a provision 
in the Constitution for the election of Depressed Classes 
candidates through Separate Electorates and demanded 
adequate representation in the Central and Provincial 
Legislatures, in the Central and Provincial Executives, in 
the Public Services and the Public Service Commissions, 
Federal as well as Provincial. Dr. Ambedkar also urged 
for earmarked sums for the education of the Scheduled 
Castes and stressed the need of new settlement for them. 

* For role of the British Cabinet Mission see Appendix4II. 

1 : Keer, P 378. 


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166 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

On May 16, 1946, the Cabinet Mission for the final solution 
of the Indian deadlock, anounced their scheme in the form 
of a ‘State Papers’ which contemplated a Formal Union of 
India with three groups of Provinces, a plan for Interim 
Government, and the formation of Constituent Assembly, the 
members of which were to be elected as a communal basis 
by the Provincial Legislatures and the representatives of the 
States joining the Union. The State Paper, however, had no 
reference to the demands of the Scheduled Castes as put forth 
by Dr. Ambedkar.’ 1 

Dr. B.R. Ambedkar made strenuous efforts to secure the 
Constitutional Rights in the proposed Constitution for the 
Scheduled Castes. All these are depicted in the following 
documents which are self explanatory — Editors. 


1 : Jatav; Dr. Ambedkar’s Role in National Movement, Pp 184-185. 


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1 

PROPOSAL FOR REPRESENTATION OF 
SCHEDULED CASTES 
IN THE EXECUTIVE COUNCIL 

New Delhi, 7 June 1945. 

Dear Lord Wavell, 

I am grateful to you for asking me in my capacity as 
the leader of the Scheduled Castes to be a member of the 
Conference which you propose to call in furtherance of your 
proposal for the Indianisation of the Executive Council. I 
told you, for reasons which I need not repeat here, that I 
am unable to accept your offer. Thereupon you desired me to 
name a substitute. Though I have expressed my disapproval 
with your proposals, I do not wish to deny you such help 
as you may derive from the presence of a Scheduled Castes 
representative in your Conference. I am, therefore, prepared 
to suggest a substitute. Judging on the suitability of various 
names that occur to me, I cannot think of any other name 
than that of Rao Bahadur N. Sivaraj., B.A., B.L. He is the 
President of the All India Scheduled Castes Federation and 
is also a member of the Central Legislative Assembly and 
of the National Defence Council. If you like, you may invite 
him to the Conference as a representative of the Scheduled 
Castes. 

2. There is one other matter to which I feel I must draw 
your attention right now. It relates to the extreme inadequacy 
of the representation given to the Scheduled Castes in His 
Majesty’s Government’s proposals for the reconstitution of 
the Executive Council. Five seats to 90 millions of Muslims, 
one seat to 50 millions of Untouchables and 1 seat to 6 
millions of Sikhs is a strange and sinister kind of political 
arithmetic which is revolting to my ideas of justice and 
common sense. I cannot be a party to it. Measured by their 
needs, the Untouchables should get as much representation 
as the Muslims, if not more. Leaving needs aside and 
taking only numbers the Untouchables should get at least 


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168 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

three. Instead, they are offered just one in a Council of 
fifteen. This is an intolerable position. 

This is a matter to which I drew your attention at the 
meeting of the Executive Council held on the 5th June 
when you explained His Majesty’s Government’s proposals 
to the Council. At the meeting of the 6th morning you 
replied to the criticisms offered by Members of Council the 
previous evening on the merits of the proposals. I naturally 
expected that you would also deal with the point I had 
raised. But to my great surprise you completely ignored 
it and made no reference to it whatever. It could not be 
that I was not emphatic enough. For I was more than 
emphatic. The conclusion I draw from your omission to 
refer to it is that either you did not think the matter to 
be of sufficient importance to deserve your notice or that 
you thought that I had no intention beyond lodging a 
protest. It is to remove this impression and to tell you in 
quite unmistakable terms that I propose to take definite 
action if His Majesty’s Government fail to redress the 
wrong. Therefore I feel the necessity of writing this letter. 

I would not have felt as hurt as I do if such a proposal 
had come from the Congress or the Hindu Mahasabha. 
But it is a decision by His Majesty’s Government. Even 
the general Hindu opinion is in favour of increased 
representation to the Scheduled Castes both in the 
Legislature and in the Executive. To take the proposals 
of the Sapru Committee as an indication of general Hindu 
opinion, the proposal of His Majesty’s Government must 
be admitted to be retrograde. For this is what the Sapru 
Committee has said: — 

“the representation given to the Sikhs and Scheduled 
Castes in the Government of India Act is manifestly 
inadequate and unjust and should be substantially raised. 

The quantum of increased representation to be given to them 
should be left to the Constitution making Body. 

“Subject to the provisions of clause (b) the executive of 
the Union shall be a composite cabinet in the sense that 
the following communities shall be represented on it, viz . — 


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PROPOSAL FOR EXECUTIVE COUNCIL 169 

(i) Hindus, other than Scheduled Castes. 

(ii) Muslims. 

(iii) Scheduled Castes. 

(iv) Sikhs. 

(v) Indian Christians. 

(vi) Anglo-Indians. 

“(b) The representation of these communities in the executive 
shall be, as far as possible, a reflection of their strength in the 
Legislature.” 

I may add that two of my Hindu colleagues in the 
Executive Council have in the memorandum they have 
presented to you this morning* expressed that the 
representation given to the Scheduled Castes in His 
Majesty’s Government’s proposals is inadequate and unfair. 
What shocks me (is) that His Majesty’s Government with 
all their profession of being trustees for the Scheduled 
Castes and contrary to their repeated declarations should 
have treated their wards in such an ill-liberal, unfair and 
unjust manner and far worse than enlightened Hindu 
opinion would have done. I feel it, therefore, my bounden 
and sacred duty to oppose the proposal by every means 
at my command. The proposal means a deathknell to 
the Untouchables and will have the effect of liquidating 
their efforts over the last 50 years for their emancipation. 
If His Majesty’s Government notwithstanding its many 
pronouncements wish to hand over the fate of the 
Untouchables to the tender mercies of Hindu-Muslim 
combine, His Majesty’s Government may well do it. But, 
I cannot be a party to the suppression of my people. The 
conclusion to which I have come is to ask His Majesty’s 
Government to redress the wrong and to give to the 
Untouchables at least 3 seats in the new Executive Council. 
If His Majesty’s Government is not prepare(d) to grant this, 
then His Majesty’s Government should know that I cannot 
be a member of the newly-constituted Executive Council, 


*See No. 482. (Transfer of Power). 


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170 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

even if I was offered a place in it. The Untouchables have been 
looking forward to a full recognition of their political rights 
for some time past. I have no doubt that they will be stunned 
by the decision of His Majesty’s Government. And I would not 
be surprised if the whole of the Scheduled Castes decided as 
a matter of protest not to have anything to do with the new 
Government. I am sure their disillusionment will bring about 
a parting of the ways. This is what I anticipate will be the 
result of His Majesty’s Government’s proposals, if they are 
not revised. So far as I myself am concerned, my decision is 
made. I may be told that this is not the final shape of things. 
This is only an interim arrangement. I have been long enough 
in politics to know concessions and adjustments more (once) 
made grows into vested rights and how wrong settlements 
once agreed upon become precedents for future settelement. 
I cannot, therefore, allow grass to grow under my feet. If I 
have capacity to judge aright, I visualize that the distribution 
of seats though it begins as a temporary arrangement will 
end by becoming permanent. Rather than be left to regret 
towards the end, I feel I must lodge my protest against it at 
the very beginning. 

It may well be that His Majesty’s Government may not 
mind my eclipse and even the eclipse of the Scheduled Castes 
from the future Government of India: nor regret the consequent 
parting of the ways between the British Government in this 
country and the Scheduled Castes. But I believe it is only 
fair that His Majesty’s Government should know what I have 
to say about the subject. I have, therefore, to request you to 
communicate to His Majesty’s Government my proposal for 
increase in the representation of the Scheduled Castes in the 
Executive Council and the course of action I propose to take 
if the proposal is rejected by them. 

I am, 


Yours sincerely, 

DR. B.R, AMBEDKAR 

• • 


(Wavell Papers, Political Series, April 1944- July 1945 pt. I, Pp. 207-209) 


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2 

MEMORANDUM SUBMITTED TO 
THE CABINET MISSION 

“The Britishers knew that it was no longer possible for 
them to keep India in bondage. So on March 15,1946, the 
British Prime Minister, Clement Attlee, acknowledged India’s 
right to attain full independence within or even without the 
British Common Wealth and said that they would not allow 
a minority to place their veto on the advance of the majority. 

The British Premier sent out a delegation of three Cabinet 
Ministers, Sir Stafford Cripps, A.V. Alexander and Lord Pethick 
Lawrence who was then the Secretary of State for India to 
discuss with Indian party leaders on the spot the question of 
resolving the Political dead lock. The British Cabinet delegation 
reached New Delhi on March 24th, 1946, numerous interviews, 
high level discussions and delicate deliberations took place in 
the Viceregal Lodge. 

Amidst this atmosphere two representatives of the Minority 
Communities were interviewed by the mission on April 5, 
1946. They were Dr. B.R. Ambedkar and Master Tara Singh. 
Dr. Ambedkar placed a memorandum before the 
commission ’ n The Memorandum is as follows : 

All - India 

Scheduled Castes Federation 
MEMORANDUM 

Submited By 
Dr. B. R. Ambedkar 
TO THE 

CABINET MISSION 
ON 

5th April 1946 


1 : Keer, Pp. 378-379. 


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172 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 


Resolution of the Working Committee of the All-India 
Scheduled Castes Federation passed at its meeting 
held in Delhi on 2 nd April 1946 


Part I 
General 

1. The Working Committee of the All-India Scheduled 
Castes Federation at its meetings held in Delhi on 2nd April 
1946, having given its best consideration to the question of 
helping the Cabinet Mission to achieve the purpose which it 
has in view, namely, to make India a self-governing country : 

Resolves to place before the Mission its considered views 
on the problem of how best to achieve the said purpose 
in a manner which will not merely grant freedom to the 
Hindu majority but will also free the minority communities 
and Scheduled Castes in particular from the tyranny of the 
majority community, which not being political is not liable 
to be altered and which being communal is a majority fixed 
for ever. 

2. The Working Committee, cannot refrain from repudiating 
the insinuation made against the Scheduled Castes that they 
have been putting a veto on the political advancement of India. 
In the opinion of the working Committee there can be no 
doubt that responsibility for holding up political advancement 
of India lies entirely upon the majority community which 
has arrogantly and unjustifiably claimed to itself the right to 
determine what safeguards the minority communities and in 
particular the Scheduled Castes should have and has never 
cared, indeed has always avoided to produce its blue print 
of the safeguards for the minority communities and for the 
Scheduled Castes. All that the Scheduled Castes have done 
is to insist - and will not hesitate to do so in future - firstly, 
upon the inclusion of proper safeguards in the Constitution 
itself for the protection of their rights and liberties and 
secondly, upon the acceptance by the majority of their right 
to determine the nature and character of the safeguards 
they want. 


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MEMORANDUM CABINET MISSION 173 

3. The Working Committee thinks it unnecessary to state 
to the Mission that this stand taken by the Scheduled Castes 
has been accepted by His Majesty’s Government as just and 
binding upon them as will be seen from the pledges given to 
the Scheduled Castes by the reprenestatives of His Majesty’s 
Government from time to time in unequivocal terms and which 
are set out in Appendix I to this Resolution. The Working 
Committee trusts that the Mission, in the final conclusions 
that may be reached as a result of the negotiations it has 
launched upon, will not depart from the pledges given to 
the Scheduled Castes and will not, in their hurry to settle, 
allow any other party to dictate to the Scheduled Castes what 
safeguards they should have. 

4. Before proceeding to set out its views on the various 
issues arising out the purpose of the Mission, the Working 
Committee desires to draw the attention of the Mission to 
the results of the Primary elections which have recently 
taken place in different Provinces, especially because these 
elections have conclusively proved that the All-India Scheduled 
Castes Federation is the only organisation, which can claim 
to speak for the Scheduled Castes of India, and that neither 
the Congress nor any of the mushroom organisations has any 
right to speak on their behalf. 


PART II 

VIEWS ON FINAL CONSTITUTION FOR 
FREE INDIA 

5. In regard to the final Constitution of a free India, the 
Working Committee of the Federation desires to make it 
plain to the Mission that the Scheduled Castes will never 
accept any Constitution which does not contain the following 
safeguards : 

(i) True and adequate representation in all the Legislature- 
Central and Provincial; 

(ii) True and adequate representation in all the Executives- 
Central and Provincial ; 


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174 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

(iii) Provision for election through separate electorates ; 

(iv) Adequate representation in the Public Services ; 

(v) Adequate representation on the Public Service 
Commission — Federal and Provincial; 

(vi) Provision of adequate sum in the annual budgets 
of the Provincial and Central Government for the 
higher education of the Scheduled Castes ; and 

(vii) Provision for new and separate settlements. 

6. Without in any way minimising the importance 
and necessity of any of the foregoing safeguards, the 
Working Committee regards (1) the provision for separate 
electorates, (2) provision for adequate representation in the 
Legislature, in the Executive and in the Services and (3) 
provision for new and separate settlements, as the most 
fundamental. 

7. As regards the provision for separate electorates, the 
Working Committee invites the attention of the Mission 
to the following facts 

(i) This demand is not a new demand. It was put forth 
at the Round Table Conference by the representatives 
of the Scheduled Castes. 

(ii) Mr. Gandhi had strongly opposed it. But notwithstanding 
his opposition, His Majesty’s Government felt 
convince of the necessity of Separate Electorates 
for the Scheduled Castes, and by their Communal 
Award of 1932, did grant to the Scheduled Castes 
Separate Electorates. 

(iii) Before the system of Separate Electorates could 
come into operation Mr. Gandhi declared that he 
would fast unto death if the Separate Electorates 
granted to the Scheduled Castes were not withdrawn 
and did actually enter upon such a fast. The 
Scheduled Castes under the pressure of Mr. Gandhi’s 
fast — untodeath were coerced into giving up their 
Separate Electorates. 


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MEMORANDUM CABINET MISSION 175 

(iv) The Poona Pact, which took the place of the 
Communal Award, (1) has saddled the Scheduled 
Castes with two elections : (a) Primary and (b) Final, 
the former through Separate Electorates and the 
latter through Joint Electorates, and (2) has placed 
the small number of Scheduled Caste voters in joint 
constituencies at the mercy of a vast number of 
Caste Hindu voters. 

(v) The results of the final elections, as compared with 
those of the primary elections which are set out 
in Appendix II, have conclusively proved that the 
System of Joint Electorates and reserved seats has 
made a mockery of the right given to the Scheduled 
Castes to send their true representatives to the 
Legislature and is a fraud upon the Scheduled Castes. 

8. If the Scheduled Castes have not been able to send 
a single candidate to the Provincial Legislatures, who is 
elected by the votes of the Scheduled Castes and who 
can therefore be said to be the true representative of the 
Scheduled Castes, it is because the joint electorates in 
which seats have been reserved for the Scheduled Castes 
have, by reason of the enormous disparity in the voting 
strength of the Scheduled Castes and the Caste Hindus, 
become rotten boroughs from the point of view of the 
Scheduled Castes and pocket boroughs from the point 
of view of Caste Hindus, who have been able to put up 
Scheduled Caste candidates, wishing to be their tools and 
get them elected in the Joint Electorates exclusively with 
Caste Hindu votes. 

9. Having regard to the bitter experience of the System 
of Joint Electorates which the Scheduled Castes have had 
in the past, the Working Committee desires to convey to 
the Mission the deep seated conviction of the Scheduled 
Castes that the need of restoring Separate Electorates 
has become paramount, as they believe and rightly that 
Separate Electorates form the only guarantee against the 
nullification by the Caste Hindus of their constitutional 
safeguards and that without Separate Electorates no 
amount of political safeguards will be of any avail to the 
Scheduled Castes. 


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176 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

10. On the question of provision for adequate representation 
in the Legislature, Executive and Services, the Working 
Committee condemns out-right the offer of token representation 
often made to the Scheduled Castes and expresses its strong 
opposition to the grant of weightage to other minorities which 
cannot but deprive the Scheduled Castes of their due share. 
The Working Committee wishes to emphasize the fact that 
the Scheduled Castes form the third important element in 
the national life of India and that they will not be satisfied 
unless they are given substantial representation in accordance 
with their need and their numbers. 

The Working Committee would be happy if it could convey 
to the Mission the horror the Scheduled Castes feel at the 
mere thought of Police and Revenue Services, manned as they 
are entirely by Caste Hindus, who are oppressing, tyrannising 
and discriminating against, the Scheduled Castes even when 
they are working under the British Government, deriving 
further support for their acts of tyranny and oppression from 
a Legislature and an Executive dominated by Caste Hindus. 
Unless provision is made for, a substantial representation of 
the Scheduled Castes in the Legislature, Executive and Public 
Services, there can be no safety to the Scheduled Castes, 
surrounded as they will be by an indifferent Legislature, a 
Pro-Hindu Executive and an anti- Scheduled Caste Policy. 

11. As to the provision for separate settlements, it is the 
considered opinion of the Working Committee that :- 

(a) The existing village system has the effect of making 
the Scheduled Castes in the villages slaves of the Caste 
Hindus. And if notwithstanding that the Penal Code 
does not recognize slavery, the Scheduled Castes in 
every village all over India are in fact the slaves of 
the Hindus, it is because of the village system. Indeed, 
a more effective method of enforcing slavery upon the 
Untouchables could not have been devised. 

(b) The existing village system under which everyone knows 
who is a touchable and who is an Untouchable, has 
the effect of making Untouchability permanent. Indeed, 
a more effective method of making Untouchability 
permanent could not have been found. 


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MEMORANDUM CABINET MISSION 177 

(c) Under the village system — 

(i) The Scheduled Castes are not allowed to live inside 
the village. They have to live on the outskirts. They 
are not allowed to take water from the village well. 
They are not allowed to send their children to the 
village schools. No barber in the village will shave 
them. They are a community apart, with no son 
of communion with the Caste Hindu residents of 
the village. 

(ii) They have no independent means of livelihood. They 
own no land. There is no avenue open to them for 
earning an independent living. The Hindu village 
is the only market they have. But no Hindu can 
buy from them. A majority of them live by begging 
food from their Hindu patrons in the village. They 
form a mass of landless labour, utterly destitute, 
a class of hereditary paupers, waiting to eke out 
such livelihood as they can from such employment 
and on such wages as the Hindu landowners may 
give. 

(iii) They have to do forced labour day in and day out 
on pain of being driven away from their quarters 
by the Hindu landholders, who look upon them 
as a cheap labour force, on which all of them can 
draw, and are, therefore, always ready to combine 
against the Scheduled Castes. 

(iv) They have to live a life of degradation, dishonour 
and ignomy from generation to generation. It is 
a state of eternal perdition. They cannot wear 
clean clothes, they cannot wear ornaments, they 
cannot eat rich food, they cannot sit on a chair in 
the presence of a Hindu and they must do all the 
dirty jobs. 

(v) The tyranny of the village Hindus upon the 
Scheduled Castes is so great and has become so 
pervasive that as the last election has shown, the 
Scheduled Castes cannot even exercise their right 
to vote for a candidate of their choice, if the Hindu 
villagers do not like him. 


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178 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

(vi) The village system makes any progress on the 
part of Scheduled Castes impossible inasmuch as 
it enables the Hindus to use that most formidable 
weapon of social boycott with which they always 
threaten the Scheduled Castes and which they use 
to hold them down and compell them to abandon 
any act or movement however beneficial it may be 
from the point of view of the Scheduled Castes, 
if it happens to offend Hindu interests or Hindu 
sentiments. 


12. So long as this village organisation remains unbroken, 
there can be no doubt that the Scheduled Castes will continue 
to remain the Untouchables, subject to the tyranny and 
oppression of the Caste Hindus and will never be able to enjoy 
free, full and honourable life. The Working Committee has, 
after long and mature deliberation, come to the conclusion 
that for the better protection of the Scheduled Castes from 
the tyranny and oppression of the Caste Hindus, which may 
assume vast magnitude under Swaraj, which is only another 
name for Hindu Raj, and to enable the Scheduled Castes to 
develop to their fullest manhood, to give them economic and 
social security, as also to pave the way for the removal of 
Untouchability, radical change must be made in the village 
system if the Scheduled Castes are to be freed from the ills 
from which they are suffering for so many centuries at the 
hands of the Hindus. Realising the necessity of a change being 
made in the village system, the Working Committee holds 
that it is imperative to make provision in the Constitution 
of India along the following lines : - 

(i) The Constitution should provide for the transfer of the 
Scheduled Castes from their present habitations and 
form separate Scheduled Castes villages, away from 
and independent of Hindu villages. 

(ii) For the settlement of the Scheduled Castes in new 
villages a provision should be made in the Constitution 
for the establishment of a Settlement Commission, 


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MEMORANDUM CABINET MISSION 179 

(iii) All Government land, which is cultivable and which is 
not occupied, shall be handed over to the commission 
to be held in trust for the purpose of making new 
settlements of the Scheduled Castes. 


(iv) The Commission should be given the right to purchase 
new land from private owners in fulfilment of the 
scheme of settlement of the Scheduled Castes. 


(v) The Constitution should impose an obligation upon 
the Central Government to grant to the Settlement 
Commission a minimum sum of Rupees five crores per 
annum to enable the Commission to carry out their 
duty in this behalf. 


PART III 

Treaty Between India And H. M. G. 


13. The Working Committee has given its best 
consideration, to the proposal of a treaty between Free India 
and His Majesty’s Government. The Working Committee 
understands that the idea behind the Treaty is to give 
protection to the minorities and to other interests to whom 
His Majesty’s Government has given pledge, even after India 
has become independent. The Working Committee while 
appreciating the intention behind the proposal of a Treaty, 
is unable to follow how it is possible to have such a Treaty 
overriding the Constitution, having regard to the fact that 
India is to be a free and independent country, and if the 
Treaty is not to override the Constitution, of what good can 
it be to the minorities. The Working Committee has come 
to the conclusion that the Scheduled Castes would prefer to 
have their safeguards embodied in the Consitution instead 
of being set out in a treaty, which has no binding force. 


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180 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

PART - IV 

Constituent Assembly 

14. The Working Committee is definitely of opinion : - 

(i) That the Constituent Assembly is unnecessary and 
incompetent for dealing with purely constitutional 
questions. 

(ii) That the Constituent Assembly will be useless for 
dealing with communal questions, for no minority will 
be prepared to accept the decisions of the majority. 

(iii) That the Constituent Assembly would be open to 
corrupt practices and it will give a free hand to a 
strong and wealthy party to buy members of the 
Scheduled Castes to vote - with them. 

(iv) That in the Constituent Assembly, the Scheduled 
Castes would be completely out-numbered and 
they cannot, therefore, have any effective say in its 
decisions. 

For these reasons, the Working Committee is opposed to 
the project of a Constituent Assembly. 

PART V 

Views On Interim Government 

15. No interim Government shall be acceptable to the 
Scheduled Castes unless and until the following conditions 
precedent are fulfilled : - 

(i) That provision is made for proper representation 
of the Scheduled Castes in the Central Legislative 
Assembly by the abolition of the nominated official 
block and filling the seats thus rendered vacant by the 
nomination of sufficient number of Scheduled Castes 
representatives. 

(ii) That provision is made for representation of the 
Scheduled Castes by allotting to them in the Executive 
Council not less than half the seats that may be 
allotted to the Muslims. 


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MEMORANDUM CABINET MISSION 181 

(iii) That no alteration, which will adversely affect the 
Scheduled Castes, shall be made in the Government 
of India Resolution of 1943 regarding representation of 
the Scheduled Castes in the Public Services without the 
consent of the Governor General. 

(iv) That the financial provision made by the Government of 
India for the higher education of the Scheduled Castes 
shall not be abrogated or modified to the prejudice of the 
Scheduled Castes without the consent of the Governor 
General. 

(v) That the principles underlying the safeguards for the 
Scheduled Castes in the Final Constitution of a Free India 
are accepted in advance by the Parties, as was stated 
by Lord Wavell in his letter of 15th August 1944 to Mr. 
Gandhi. 

PART VI 

Views On Pakistan 

16. The Working Committee is aware of the demand for 
Pakistan. The Scheduled Castes are deeply concerned in the issues 
involved in this demand. The Working Committee, however, feels 
that no useful purpose would be served by expressing the views 
of the Scheduled Castes thereon at this stage and prefers to 
reserve its views till it is known that there is no escape from it. 

APPENDIX I 

Pledges And Pronouncements 

1. “The authors stated that the Depressed Classes also should 
learn the lesson of self-protection. It is surely fanciful to hope that 
this result can be expected from including a single member of the 
community in an assembly where there are sixty or seventy Caste 
Hindus. To make good the principles of paras, 51, 152, 154 and 
155 of the Report we must treat the outcaste more generously. We 
think there should be in each council enough representatives of the 
Depressed Classes to save them from being entirely submerged, 
and at the same time to stimulate some capacity for collective 
action. In the case of Madras, we suggest that they should be 
given six seats; in Bengal, the United Provinces and Bihar and 
Orissa, we would give them four; in the Central Provinces and, 
Bombay two and elsewhere one. In these respects we think that 
the Committee’s report clearly requires modification.” 


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182 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

— Extract from the Fifth Despatch of the Government of 
India dated 23rd April, 1919 on the Report of the Southborough 
Committee on Franchise. 

2. “Nor must forget the essential necessity in the interests 
of Indian unity, of the inclusion of the Indian States in any 
Constitutional scheme. 

I need refer only to two of them — the great Muslim minority 
and the Scheduled Castes — there are the guarantees that have 
been given to the minorities in the past; the fact that their 
position must be safeguarded, and that those guarantees must 
be honoured.” 

— Extract from the speech made by Lord Linlithgow, at the 
Orient Club, Bombay, on January 10, 1940. 

3. “These are two main points which have emerged. On 
these two points, His Majesty’s Government now desires me 
to make their position clear. The first is as to the position of 
the minorities in relation to any future Constitutional scheme 

It goes without saying that they (H. M. Government) could not 
contemplate the transfer of their present responsibilities for the 
peace and welfare of India to any system of Government whose 
authority is directly denied by large and powerful elements in 
India’s national life. Nor could they be parties to the coercion 
of such elements into submission to such a Government.” 

— Extract from the Statement by Lord Linlithgow on 8th 
August 1940. 

4. “Congress leaders have built up a remarkable 

organization, the most efficient political machine in India 

if only they had suceeded, if the Congress could in fact speak, 
as it professes to speak, for all the main elements in India’s 
national life, then however advanced their demands, our problem 
would have been in many respects far easier than it is to-day. 
It is true that they are numerically the largest single party in 
British India, but their claim in virtue of that fact to speak for 
India is utterly denied by very important elements in India’s 
complex national life. These others assert their right to be 
regarded not as more numerical minorities but as separate 
constituent factors in any future Indian policy. The foremost 
among these elements stand the great Muslim community. 
They will have nothing to do with a constitution framed by a 
constituent assembly elected by a majority vote in geographical 


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MEMORANDUM CABINET MISSION 183 

constituencies. They claim the right in any constitutional 
discussions to be regarded as an entity against the operations 
of a mere numerical majority. The same applies to the great 
body what are known as the Scheduled Castes who feel, in 
spite of Mr. Gandhi’s earnest endeavours on their behalf, 
that as a community, they stand outside the main body of 
the Hindu community which is represented by the Congress.” 

— Extract from the speech by The Rt. Hon’ble Mr. L. S. 
Amery, Secretary of State for India, in the House of Commons 
on August 14, 1940. 

5. “3. Without recapitulating all the * reasons in 

detail, I should remind you that His Majesty’s Government 
* at time made it clear; 

(a) That their offer of unqualified freedom after the cessation 
of hostilities was made conditional upon the framing of 
a Constitution agreed by the main elements of India’s 
national life and the negotiation of the necessary treaty 
arrangements with His Majesty’s Government. 

(b) That it is impossible during the period of hostilities 
to bring about any change in the Constitution by 
which means alone a “National Government” such as 
you suggest could be made responsible to the Central 
Assembly. 

The object of these conditions was to ensure the fulfilment 
of their duty to safeguard the interests of the racial and 
religious minorities, of the Depressed Classes and their Treaty 
obligations to the Indian States,” 

— Extract from the letter by Lord Wavell to Mr. Gandhi, 
dated 15th August, 1944. 


* Illegible 


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184 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 


Appendix II 



Primary Election 

Final Election 

Constituency 

Votes cast 
in 

favour of 
Congress 
Candidate 

votes cast 
in 

favour of 
Federation 
Candidate 

Votes cast 
in 

favour of 
Congress 
Candidate 

Votes cast in 
favour of 
Federation 
Candidate 

I - Bombay City 





1. Bombay 

(Parel, Byculla) 

2,096 

11,096 

43,456 

39,498 

2. Bombay City 
(North and 
Suburban) 

2,088 

12,899 

59,646 

42,510 

II - Central 
Provinces 





1. Nagpur - Umrer 

2. Hinghanghat - 
Wardha 

270 

342 

1,933 

1,339 


Results of 
the Final 
Elections 
not 

available 


3. Bhandara -Sakoli 

976 

3,187 




4. Yeotmal-Darwa 

514 

452 




III - Punjab 





1 . Karnal 

519 

1,691 

Non - Con 
uno 

gress returned 
pposed 

2. Ambala-Simla 

1,392 

6,509 

10,503 

7,533 

3. Hoshiarpur 
(West) 

641 

6,577 

16,307 

19,134 

4. Jullundar 

775 

7,750 

18,018 

21,476 

5. Ludhiana - 
Ferozpore 

812 

5,986 

24,352 

Figures not 
available 


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MEMORANDUM CABINET MISSION 185 


Appendix II — Contd. 




Primary Election 

Final Election 


Constituency 

Votes cast 
in 

favour of 
Congress 
Candidate 

votes cast 
in 

favour of 
Federation 
Candidate 

Other 

Votes cast 
in 

favour of 
Congress 
Candidate 

Votes cast 
in 

favour of 
Federation 
Candidate 

IV 

- Madras 






1 . 

Amalapuram 

2,683 

10,540 

2,321 



2. 

Coconada 

1,411 

7.590 




3. 

Bandar 

4,914 

12.182 

11,442 



4. 

Guddappah 

3,482 

1,360 




5. 

Penukonda 

2,564 

2,567 


Results not known 

6. 

Thiru- 

vannomala 

1,960 

1,874 




7. 

Tindivanam 

2.785 

2,679 

209 



8. 

Mannar - 
gudi 

2,893 

No 

candidate 

6,505 



9. 

Pollachi 

2,430 

791 

337 



10 

Namakal 

2,336 

2,069 





Note : - In the Primary Election a voter has only one vote while in the 
Final Election a voter has as many votes as there are seats. 
Except in the Madras Presidency where the distribution system 
is compulsory, in all other Provinces the voter is free to distribute 
his votes as he likes. 


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186 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

Appendix III 

Relative strength of Caste Hindu voters and Scheduled 
Caste voters in Constituencies in which seats are reserved 
for Scheduled Castes in Bombay Province 


Name of the 
General Constituency 

Total 

of 

voters 

Total 

of General 
voters 

Total of 
Scheduled 
Caste voters 

1 . 

Bombay City North 

& Bombay 

Sub - urban Dist. 

2,10,268 

1,67,002 

34,266 

2. 

Bombay City 
(Byculla and Parel) 

1,70,511 

1,52,991 

28,520 

3. 

Kaira District 

1,46,584 

1,39,266 

7,318 

4. 

Surat District 

90,435 

85,670 

4,765 

5. 

Thana South 

72,416 

67,749 

4,667 

6. 

Ahmadnagar South 

82,989 

75,607 

7,382 

7. 

East Khandesh East 

1,01,486 

91,377 

10,109 

8. 

Nasik West 

1,11,969 

99,271 

12,698 

9. 

Poona West 

91,368 

77,389 

13,979 

10. 

Satara North 

1,05,352 

94,200 

11,152 

11. 

Solapur North-East 

74,296 

64,583 

9,713 

12. 

Belgaum North-East 

97,725 

79,422 

18,303 

13. 

Bijapur North 

69,478 

60,485 

8,993 

14. 

Kolaba District 

1,07,638 

1,02,637 

5,001 

15. 

Ratnagiri North 

36,531 

33,002 

3,329 


Note: - In the above table, General voters mean Caste Hindu voters. 

This table shows how the Scheduled Caste voters are vastly out 
numbered by the Caste Hindu voters and how impossible it is for 
the Scheduled Caste voters to win the reserved seat in the joint 
electorate by dint of their voting strength, even if everyone of the 
Scheduled Caste voter were to come to poll. Exactly the same sort 
of situation exist in other Provinces. 


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3 

DR. AMBEDKAR’S INTERVIEW WITH CABINET 

MISSION 

Cabinet Mission interviewed Dr. B. R. Ambedkar as a 
representative of the All India Scheduled Castes Federation. 
Similarly, Mr. Jagjiwan Ram, Mr. Radhanath Das and 
Mr. Prithvi Singh Azad were also interviewed as representatives 
of All India Depressed Class League — Editors 

“Dr. Ambedkar was interviewed on behalf of the Scheduled 
Castes Federation. In reply to an enquiry as to the method of 
representation of Scheduled Castes in the constituent assembly 
he said that he did not want a constituent assembly at all. It 
would be dominated by the Caste Hindus and the Scheduled 
Castes would be no more than a small minority which would 
always be outvoted. All the assurances of protection which 
His Majesty’s Government had given to the minorities would 
go by the board. 

His own proposal was that the tasks envisaged for the 
constituent assembly should be divided into two classes, 
namely (a) constitutional questions properly so called, e.g. 
the relation between the legislature and the executive and 
their respective composition and functions, and (b) communal 
questions. Matters under (a) should be referred to a commission 
presided over by an eminent constitutional lawyer from Great 
Britain or the U.S.A. The other members should be two 
Indian experts and one representative each of the Hindu and 
Muslim Communities. The terms of reference should be the 
Government of India Act of 1935 and the Commission should 
be required to recommend what changes should be made in 
the Act as it stood. Matters under (b) should be referred to a 
conference of the leaders of the different communities. If the 
conference failed to arrive at an agreed solution, His Majesty’s 
Government should make an award. 

Dr. Ambedkar claimed that, before they left, the 
British must ensure that the new constitution guaranteed 
to the Scheduled Castes, he elementary human rights 
of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, and 
that it restored their Separate Electorates and gave 


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188 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

them the other safeguards which they demanded. The Secretary 
of State suggested that Indian politics had been dominated 
by two issues, the question of winning independence from 
British rule and the Hindu-Muslim problem. Once these were 
out of the way, party divisions would probably on economic 
issues. Surely the Scheduled Castes would have a better 
chance of securing their rights by allaying themselves with 
the left wing than by relying on British, who were about to 
hand over power. Dr. Ambedkar reiterated that so long as 
there were joint electorates Scheduled Caste voters would 
be so few that Hindu candidates could safely ignore their 
wishes. Caste Hindus would never support Scheduled Caste 
candidates. Separate Electorates were fundamental, without 
them the Scheduled Castes would never have their own 
representatives .” 1 


• • 


1 : The Transfer of Power in India, Pp. 243-44. Quoted, Khairmode, Vol.8, 
Pp. 62-64. 

For interviews of Jagjivan Ram, Radhanath Das and Prithvi Singh Azad, 
see Appendix No. IV. 


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4 

A NOTE ON THE MEETING BETWEEN 
DR. B. R. AMBEDKAR AND 
FIELD MARSHAL VISCOUNT WAVELL 

Dr. B. R. Ambedkar submitted a memorandum to the 
Cabinate Mission on Policy of Schedule Castes Federation on 
5th April 1946 and a meeting was held on the same day at 
12 noon between Dr. B. R. Ambedkar and Cabinate Mission 
including Field Marshal Viscount Wavell. After the meeting 
a note was prepared which is as follows. — Editors. 

Secret 

Dr. Ambedkar said that he had little to add to the 
memorandum, of which copies had been supplied to the 
Delegation, giving the text of the resolution passed by the 
Working Committee of the All India Scheduled Castes 
Federation at its meeting on April 2nd. Paragraph 5 of this 
memorandum contained a list of safeguards which were 
largely designed to secure to the Scheduled Castes adequate 
representation in Government and the Public Services. The 
Federation would never accept any constitution in which these 
were not included. 

On the question of Pakistan, Dr. Ambedkar doubted 
whether Muslims as a whole would really be benefited by 
the new State. So many of them would have to remain in 
Hindustan and would be unwilling or unable to migrate. 

He wondered whether Pakistan, was a permanent or a 
passing mood on the part of the Muslims. Quite probably it 
would pass. But it was impossible to wait and see and the 
Muslim demand had grown so strong that it had become 
necessary to meet it somehow. In his book on the subject he 
had proposed that this dilemma should be resolved by an 
adaptation of the solution which Mr. Asquith had propounded 
in 1920 for the Irish problem. Mr. Asquith had suggested 
that Ulster should be separated from the rest of Ireland for 
six years; but that a council consisting of representatives of 
both parts of the country should be established to deal with 
matters of common concern during this period. At the end 
of the six years Ulster would have had to choose whether 


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190 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

to remain separate or to reunite with Southern Ireland. 
Similarly, Dr. Ambedkar had proposed that Pakistan should 
be given independence for ten years, at the end of which it 
would be known whether it was an economic proposition. 
He admitted that if the people of Pakistan then wished to 
join up with Hindustan they would be in a weak position to 
negotiate and all the bargaining counters would be on the other 
side. During the ten-year period there might be a common 
council, but it would be purely consultative and would have 
no executive power. Any All-India Central Government to 
which the Muslims could, in their present mood, be brought 
to agree would be so weak as to be useless. There were many 
other fissiparous tendencies besides the Muslim demand for 
Pakistan, and the only Central Government worth having 
would be a strong one which could hold the country together. 

In reply to an enquiry on the method of representation 
of the Scheduled Castes in the Constituent Assembly, 
Dr. Ambedkar said that he did not want a Constituent 
Assembly at all. It would be dominated by the Caste Hindus, 
and the Scheduled Caste members would be no more than 
a small minority which would always be outvoted even if a 
three-quarters or a two-thirds majority were required for the 
Assembly’s decisions. All the assurances of protection which 
His Majesty’s Government had given to the minorities would 
go by the board. Moreover, there would be an immense amount 
of corruption in the Assembly-members would be bought over 
to vote against the interests of their communities. 

His own proposal was that the tasks envisaged for the 
Constituent Assembly should be divided into two classes, viz : — 

(a) Constitutional questions properly so-called, e.g. the 
relations between the Legislature and the Executive and 
their respective composition and functions. There was no 
great controversy about these matters which did not excite 
the emotions. To deal with them was beyond the mental 
capacity of the type of man whom Provincial Assemblies 
might be expected to send up, and was a job for experts. 

(b) Communal questions. 

Questions under the first of these headings should be referred 


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A NOTE ON VISCOUNT WAVELL 191 

to a commission presided over by an eminent constitutional 
lawyer from Great Britain or the U.S.A. The other members 
should be two Indian experts and one representative each of 
the Hindu and Muslim communities. The terms of reference 
of the Commission should be the Government of India Act 
of 1,935 and they should be required to recommend what 
changes should be made in the Act as it stood. 

Questions under (b) should be referred to a conference of 
the leaders of the different communities. If the conference 
failed to arrive at an agreed solution, His Majesty’s 
Government would have to make an award. This would 
no doubt be accepted if it Were reasonable. 

Dr. Ambedkar then described the position of the 
Scheduled Castes today. It was estimated that they 
numbered sixty million, though this figure was probably 
inaccurate, firstly, because there were no reliable statistics 
for the States and, secondly, because the census had become 
mixed up with politics. All these people were subject to 
very serious disabilities. In the villages they were without 
land and were virtually the slaves of the Caste Hindus. As 
an instance of the power of the latter, he said that when 
some Untouchables had escaped from their villages to 
take up well-paid work under the Military authorities, the 
Caste Hindus had managed to force them back to work for 
them. Owing to the preponderance of Caste Hindus in the 
Subordinate Police and Revenue Services the Government 
was already, from the point of view of the Untouchables, 
not a British but a Hindu one. An example has been the 
recent arrest of 100 of their boys in Bombay for throwing 
stones at Mr. Gandhi, when the police had also taken the 
opportunity to do considerable damage in the Scheduled 
Caste area of the city. 

Politically, although the Scheduled Castes like 
the other communities, had been granted Separate 
Electorates in 1932, they had virtually been deprived 
of them, be the Poona Pact. Instead, they had got 
the system of double elections which meant that in 


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192 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

the second election, in which all the Hindus voted, the Caste 
Hindus could nullify the result of the first election in which 
Untouchables were the only voters. He referred to the figures 
appended to the Working Committee’s resolution of April 
2nd which showed, firstly, that in many cases the Congress 
Scheduled Caste candidates, though outvoted by the Federation 
candidates in the primary elections, had beaten them in the 
final elections : and, secondly, how small was the number of 
Scheduled Caste voters in comparison with the total of general 
voters. Even so, Congress had resorted to loot and arson to 
ensure the success of their condidates; he produced a volume 
of photographs to show what they had done. 

The Central Legislature had been in existence since 1919, 
yet no questions were ever asked, resolutions moved or 
anything else done with the object of helping the Scheduled 
Castes. 

In the Indian States the position of the Scheduled Castes 
was especially bad. There were even certain foods which they 
were not allowed to eat. In the representative institutions 
which were now being established in certain States, no 
community had been given separate representation except the 
Muslims. The Political Department should have taken greater 
interest in these constitutional experiments, and should have 
seen to it that the Scheduled Castes were given separate 
electorates. The Delegation should see the President of the 
All-India Scheduled Castes States Conference. 

The Scheduled Castes had been the earliest source of man- 
power for the East India Company’s army, and so it was with 
their help that the British had conquered India. They had 
been the friends of the British ever since. Yet the British had 
never consciously and deliberately helped them, though since 
1892 they had given enormous help to the Muslims. 

He thought that if India became independent it would be one 
of the greatest disasters that could happen. Before they left, the 
British must ensure that the new constitution guaranteed to the 
Scheduled Castes the elementary human rights of life, liberty 
and the pursuit of happiness, and that it restored their Separate 
Electorates and gave them the other safeguards which they 


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A NOTE ON VISCOUNT WAVELL 193 

demanded. At present disillusionment was driving his followers 
towards terrorism and communism. He was on trial with them 
for the efficacy of constitutional methods. 

Lord Pethick-Lawrence said that up to now Indian politics 
had been dominated by two issues, the question of winning 
independence from British rule and the Hindu-Muslim problem. 
Once these were out of the way party divisions would probably 
be on economic issues. Surely the Scheduled Castes would have 
a better chance of getting their rights by allaying themselves 
with the left wing than by relying on the British who were 
about to hand over power. In reply Dr. Ambedker reiterated 
that so long as there were joint electorates, Scheduled Caste 
voters would be so few that Hindu candidates could safely 
ignore their wishes. Caste Hindus would never support 
Scheduled Caste candidates. Admittedly under the present 
system they had to vote for the Untouchables in the final 
elections; but their object in doing so was never to favour their 
own candidate but merely to outvote the candidate put up by 
his own Federation. Separate Electorates were fundamental, 
since without them the Scheduled Castes would never have 
their own representatives. 

• • 


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5 

SEPARATE SETTLEMENTS FOR UNTOUCHABLES 

Dr. B. R. Ambedkar submitted a memorandum to the 
Cabinet Mission demanding separate settlement of villages for 
Untouchables. In his press interview he clarified his views on 
this issue — Editors. 

“The view that the demand of the Scheduled Castes for 
separate villages was not an encroachment on the rights of any 
party, was expressed by Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, Labour Member 
of Government of India, in an interview. 

Dr. Ambedkar said that there were large areas of cultivable 
waste land lying untenanted in the country which could be set 
apart for the settlement of Scheduled Castes. Government could 
form a trust to give effect to the proposal. 

Objection, he thought, would come only from those who had 
been accustomed to using the Scheduled Castes as a source of 
labour which was available to do all the unclean jobs and who 
could be forced to work at the cheapest wage rate. They would 
like to perpetuate this slavery. Because of intolerable conditions 
under which the Scheduled Castes lived in provinces like Bombay 
and Madras, it was necessary to have separate villages for them. 

Dr. Ambedkar explained that the village being a social and 
not an economic unit of society, there was no need to fear an 
economic strangulation of these separate villages. The produce of 
these areas would be sent to places where it would be welcome. 

Asked if the demand applied to the Pakistan areas 
Dr. Ambedkar said that it did. At present there was nothing 
concrete about Pakistan. The question of setting up separate 
villages would arise when it took concrete shape. 

The position of the Scheduled Castes, he said was analogous 
to that of the Bantu and other tribes of South Africa. He did 
not see why provision should not be made in the future Indian 
constitution to safeguard the interest of the Scheduled Castes 
in the same way as was done in the South African Constitution 
in the case of the Bantus — 

A.P.I.” 

• • 


1 : Jai Bheem : 7 th May 1946. 


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PROTEST LETTER AGAINST THE PROPOSALS 


Dear Lord Wavell, 

The omission on the part of the Cabinet Mission to invite a 
representative of the Scheduled Castes to their Conference in 
Simla has given rise to many misgivings in the minds of the 
Scheduled Castes as to how the Cabinet Mission proposes to 
dispose of their demand for constitutional safeguards. As the 
situation is critical, I like to acquaint you with the reactions 
of the Scheduled Castes in this connection. 

The omission to invite a representative of the Scheduled 
Castes to the Simla Conference is capable of many explanations. 
One explanation that appears to me to be plausible is that 
the demands of the Scheduled Castes are such that they do 
not require the consent of other parties inasmuch as they do 
not trench upon their legitimate rights. This is certainly so 
at least with regard to three of their demands, namely, (1) 
separate electorates, (2) proper representation in the Central 
Executive, and (3) undertaking from parties to accept certain 
general principles in regard to the safeguarding of the interest 
of the Scheduled Castes in the future constitution as a condition 
precedent for an interim Government. 

That the demands of the Scheduled Castes do not require 
the consent of other parties is a view which I had urged very 
strongly upon the Mission in the course of my interview on 
the 5th of April 1946. 

The demand for Separate Electorates by a Majority Community 
as is the case of Muslims in the Punjab, N.W.F. Province, Sind and 


OF CABINATE MISSION 


Bhimrao R. Ambedkar, 

M.A. Ph.D., D.Sc, Barrister-atdaw, 
Member, Governor General’s 
Executive Council. 


22, Prithviraj Road, 
New Delhi, 

Dated, 3rd May 1946. 


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196 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

Bengal, stands on a different footing from the demand for 
Separate Electorates by a Minority Community such as the 
Scheduled Castes. A demand for Separate Electorates by a 
Majority Community must require the consent of the Minority 
Community. But the demand for Separate Electorates by a 
Minority Community can never be made dependent upon 
the wishes of the Majority Community. The Electorate is 
primarily a mechanism devised for protecting a Minority 
against the Majority. That being so, whether the Electorate 
should be joint or separate must be left entirely to Minority 
to determine on the ground that the Minority knows what is 
best in its own interest. The Majority can have no say in the 
matter and must really accept the decision of the Minority. 
Following this up, the Hindus can have very little to say as 
to whether the Scheduled Castes should or should not have 
Separate Electorates. 

The demand of the Scheduled Castes for Separate 
Electorates does not adversely affect any other community, 
not even the Hindus. That is why this demand is accepted 
by all other Communities. The contention of the Hindus that 
the Scheduled Castes are Hindus and therefore cannot have a 
Separate Electorates is simply purile and misses the essential 
point that Separate Electorates is really a mechanism for 
the protection of the minorities and has nothing to do with 
religion. If any evidence of this is necessary, one could 
refer to the case of Europeans, Anglo-Indians and Indian 
Christians who are all one by religion yet each have a 
Separate Electorate. 

If the Cabinet Mission took these facts and arguments into 
consideration there would be nothing unnatural if it accepted 
the contention of the Scheduled Castes that the consent of 
the Hindus is not necessary and that it was entirely a matter 
for the Cabinet Mission to decide, particularly when it has 
been proved that Joint Electorates have made representation 
of the Scheduled Castes a farce. 

The second demand of the Scheduled Castes that their 
representation in the Interim Government should be 50% of 
the representation granted to the Muslims is also a demand for 
which the consent of the Hindus is not necessary before it could be 


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PROTEST LETTER CABINATE MISSION 197 

conceded. It is for the Mission to decide what 
representation the Scheduled Castes should have in the 
Central Executive having regard to their numbers and 
the weight of the disabilities they are suffering from and 
the lee-way they have to make to bring themselves in line 
with other advanced communities. You will remember 
that this question was raised by me at the time of the 
last Simla Conference and you were prepared to give two 
seats to the Scheduled Castes which was just a little less 
than 50 per cent offered to the Muslims. 

There is nothing new in the third demand. It is merely 
a reiteration of your own view which you expressed to 
Mr. Gandhi in your letter of 15th August 1944. In para 
5 of that letter you said 

“It is clear in these circumstances that no purpose will 
be served by discussion on the basis which you suggest. 

If, however, the leaders of the Hindus, the Muslims and 
the important minorities were willing to co-operate in a 
transitional Government established and working within 
the present constitution, I believe good progress might be 
made. For such a transitional Government to succeed, there 
must, before it is formed, be agreement in principle between 
Hindus and Muslims and all important elements as to the 
method by which the new constitution should be framed.” 

This principle which you enunciated must be presumed 
to have been made on behalf of His Majesty’s Government 
and as such it must be binding on the Cabinet Mission. 
Consent of parties would seem to be quite unnecessary 
for the Mission to give effect to this principle, which is 
all that the Scheduled Castes have demanded. 

If I may say so, these contentions have sufficient force 
to lead to the conclusion that Mission does not think 
that the consent of the Hindus is necessary before it can 
pronounce upon the demands of the Scheduled Castes 
and that this is why the Scheduled Castes have not 
been invited to sent their representatives to the Simla 
Conference. 


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198 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

But unfortunately this is not the only explanation 
that comes to one’s mind. There is another explanation 
which is possible. It is that the Cabinet Mission regards 
an agreement between the Congress and the Muslim 
League enough to give them a clear line to proceed with 
the formation of the interim Constitution as well as 
for determining the machinery for shaping the future 
constitution of India without waiting to consider the case 
of the Scheduled Castes. 

The Scheduled Castes are filled with anxiety as they 
do not know definitely what the plan of the Mission is. If 
the Mission has adopted the second plan, which may well 
be the fact, then I feel that I shall be failing in my duty 
if I did not lodge my protest against this betrayal of the 
Scheduled Castes and inform the Mission that they will be 
wholly responsible for the consequences that might ensue. 

This letter is written by me in my capacity as a 
respresentative of the Scheduled Castes. It is addressed to 
you in your capacity as a Member of the Cabinet Mission. 
I shall be grateful if you will be so good to circulate it to 
your colleagues. 


I am, 


Yours Sincerely, 
B.R. Ambedkar. 

His Excellency Field Marshal 

The Right Hon‘ble Viscount Wavell of 

Cyrenaica and Winchester, SIMLA. 

G.C.B., G.M.S.I., G.M.I.E., C.M.G., M.C., 

Viceroy & Governor General of India 


• • 


Source ; Privately printed leaflet by Dr. Ambedkar. 


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7 


LETTER TO A. V. ALEXANDER ABOUT THE 
PROPOSALS OF CABINET MISSION 


Dear Mr. Alexander, 

It is a pity that your efforts to bring about a settlement 
between the Congress and the League should have failed. I 
know you deserve every sympathy and every gratitude. At 
the same time, I cannot help saying that the Mission’s effort 
to settle reminds me of an old Baniya who being without a 
son to inherit his wealth married a young girl with the hope 
of begetting a heir. The bride conceived but the bridegroom 
was striken with a fell-disease. He, however, refused to die 
without having a look at the baby and would not wait for 
delivery which was far off. He was so impatient that he 
called the doctor, asked him to open the stomach of his wife 
and let him see whether it was a boy or a girl. The result 
of the operation was that both the baby and the mother 
died. If I may say so, the Mission wanted to do very much 
what the Baniya did. You may not be aware but there are 
many who, like me, feel that the Mission was engaged in 
bringing about a forced delivery earlier than the natural 
period of gestation. 

2. To my mind, it is only right to say that the Hindus 
and the Muslims are today mentally incompetent to 
decide upon the destiny of this country. Both Hindus and 
Muslims are just crowds. It must be within your experience 
that a crowd is less moved by material profit than by 
a passion collectively shared. It is easier to persuade a 
mass of men to sacrifice itself collectively than to act 
upon a cool assessment of advantages. A crowd easily 


Bhimrao R. Ambedkar, 

MA. Ph.D., D.Sc., Barrister-at-law, 
Member, Governor General’s 
Executive Council. 


22, Prithviraj Road, 
New Delhi, 

Dated, 14th May 1946. 


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200 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

loses all sense of profit and loss. It is moved by motives which 
may be high or low, genial or barbarous, compassionate or 
cruel, but is always above or below reason. The common 
sense of each is lost in the emotion of all. It is easier to 
persuade a crowd to commit suicide than to accept a legacy. 
It is not for me to advise you how you should proceed. The 
Mission has found greater wisdom and higher inspiration 
in the Bhangi Basti and in 10 Aurangazeb Road. I would 
be the last person to say anything in depreciation of such 
wisdom and inspiration. But I do think that if the Mission 
were not to exhibit the pathetic spectacle of an old man in a 
hurry, a phrase used by Chamberlain to describe Gladstone 
engaged in his campaign for Irish Home Rule and allow that 
in diplomacy is called ‘Cooling period’ they will find that they 
have an easier situation to deal with. 

3. That is a matter for the Mission, for the major parties 
and those who have put their faith in the major parties. 
I am concerned in knowing how you propose to deal with 
the problem of the Untouchables and their demand for 
constitutional safeguards. In the official statement issued 
by the Mission on the last day of the Simla talks, it is said 
that the Mission will announce the next step it proposes to 
take within a few days after they return to Delhi. Obviously, 
the eyes of all the Scheduled Castes are turned towards this 
announcement. What the Mission will do will ultimately 
decide their fate. The decision of the Mission will either open 
to the Untouchables the path of life, liberty and pursuit of 
happiness or it will drive a nail in their coffin. The question 
being one of life and death it would not be wrong if I were 
to engage your attention for a few minutes with the problem 
of the Untouchables. 

4. The problem of the Untouchables is a formidable one for the 
Untouchables to face. But fortunately it is simple to understand 
if only the following facts are borne in mind. The Untouchables 
are surrounded by a vast mass of Hindu population which 
is hostile to them and which is not ashamed of committing 
any inequity or atrocity against them. For a redress of these 
wrongs which are matter of daily occurrence, the Untouchables 
have to call in the aid of the administration. What is the 


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character and composition of this administration ? To be 
brief, the administration in India is completely in the hands 
of the Hindus. It is their monopoly. From top to bottom it 
is controlled by them. There is no Department which is not 
dominated by them. They dominate the Police, the Magistracy 
and the Revenue Services, indeed any and every branch of 
the administration. The next point to remember is that the 
Hindus in the administration are not merely non- social, they 
are positively anti-social and inimical to the Untouchables. 
Their one aim is to discriminate against the Untouchables and 
to deny and deprive them not only of the benefits of law, but 
also of the protection of the law against tyranny and oppression. 
The result is that the Untouchables are placed between the 
Hindu population and the Hindu-ridden administration, the 
one committing wrongs against them and the other protecting 
the wrong-doer instead of the victims. 

5. Against this back-ground, what can Swaraj of the 
Congress variety mean to the Untouchables ? It only means one 
thing, namely, that while today it is only the administration 
that is in the hands of the Hindus, under Swaraj the 
Legislature and Executive will also be filled with Hindus. It 
goes without saying that Swaraj would aggravate the sufferings 
of the Untouchables. For, in addition to their having to face 
an hostile administration, the Untouchables will have to face 
an hostile or indifferent Legislature, a callous Executive and 
an administration uncontrolled and unbridled in venom and in 
harshness in its inequitious attitude towards the Untouchables. 
To put it differently, under Swaraj of the Congress variety, 
the Untouchables will have no way of escape from the destiny 
of degradation which the Hindus and Hinduism have fixed 
for them. 

6. I hope this will give you some idea as to why the 
Untouchables have been insisting that the only way by 
which the Untouchables can prevent this Swaraj from 
becoming a calamity to them is to have their representatives 
in the Legislature so that they may keep on protesting 
against wrongs and injustices done to them by the Hindus, 
to have their representatives in the Executive so that 
they may make plans for their betterment and to have 


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202 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

representatives in the services so that the administration may 
not be wholly hostile to them. If you accept the justice of the 
demand of the Untouchables for constitutional safeguards, you 
will have no difficulty in understanding why the Untouchables 
want separate electorates. The Untouchables will be a minority 
in the Legislature. They are destined to remain a minority. 
They cannot overcome the majority which being communal 
in its making is, so to say, fixed and pre-ordained. All they 
can do is to place themselves in position to able to determine 
the terms on which they will be prepared to work with the 
majority and not be compelled to accept the terms prescribed 
by the majority, and secondly, if the majority refuses to work 
with them and declines to redress their wrongs, they would 
at least be free to utter their protest against the majority 
on the floor of the Legislature. How are the Untouchables to 
maintain their freedom to protest ? Only if their representatives 
in the Legislatures do not owe their election to the votes of 
the majority. This is the basis of their demand for separate 
electorates. 

7. No safeguards are going to be of any value to the 
Untouchables unless the Untouchables get a separate 
electorate. Separate electorate is the crux of the matter. I 
have before me a copy of the representation submitted to 
the Cabinet Mission by three Congress Harijans who were 
interviewed by the Mission on the 9th April 1946. They were 
no better than the three tailors of Tooly Street who had the 
audacity to present an address to the Parliament saying: “We 
the people of England.” Apart from this, it is instructive to 
note that there is no difference between the demands put 
forth by me on behalf of the Scheduled Castes Federation and 
the demands put forth by these Congress Harijans. The only 
difference that exists relates to the question of electorates. I 
do not know how you interpret the demands of the Congress 
Harijans. They are not really demands. They represent what 
the Congress is prepared to give to the Untouchables by way 
of political safeguards. This is not merely my understanding. 
It is my knowledge. For I have been informed by person who 
knows the mind of the Congress that if I was prepared to 
accept joint electorates, the Congress on its part would be 
quite prepared to concede all other demands of mine. 


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You must be wondering why should the Congress be 
prepared to concede all the demands of the Scheduled Castes 
and object only to one namely, separate electorates. There will 
be no wonder if you know what game the Congress is playing. 
It is a very deep game. Realising that there is no escape from 
giving the Untouchables some safeguards, the Congress wants 
to find out some way by which it can make them of no effect. 
It is in the system of joint electorates that the Congress sees 
an instrument of making the safeguards of no effect. This 
is the way Congress is insisting upon joint electorates. For 
joint electorates means giving the Untouchables office without 
power. What the Untounchables want is office with power. 
This, they can only get through separate electorates and that 
is why they are insisting upon it. 

8. I believe the case in favour of separate electorates for 
the Scheduled Castes is a cast-iron case. Every other party 
except the Congress accepts it. The arguments in favour of 
separate electorates have been set out by me in my letter of 
3rd May 1946 addressed to Lord Wavell which he must have 
shown to you and it is therefore unnecessary to repeat them 
here. The question is what the Mission is going to do with 
this demand of the Scheduled Castes. Are they going to make 
the Untouchables free from political yoke of the Hindus? Or, 
are they going to throw them to the wolves by favouring the 
system of joint electorates in order to make friends with the 
Congress and the Hindu majority whom it represents? The 
Scheduled Castes are entitled to ask His Majesty’s Government 
that before the British abdicate, His Majesty’s Government 
shall make sure that Swaraj does not become a strangle-hold 
for the Untouchables. 

9. Allow me to say that the British have a moral 
responsibility towards the Scheduled Castes. They may have 
moral responsibilities towards all minorities. But it can never 
transcend the moral responsibility which rests on them in 
respect of the Untouchables. It is a pity how few Britishers 
are aware of it and how fewer are prepared to discharge 
it. British Rule in India owes its very existence to the 
help rendered by the Untouchables. Many Britishers think 
that India was conquered by the Clives, Hastings, Cootes 
and so on. Nothing can be a greater mistake. India was 


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204 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

conquered by an army of Indians and the Indians who formed 
the army were all Untouchables. British Rule in India would 
have been impossible if the Untouchables had not helped the 
British to conquer India. Take the Battle of Plassey which laid 
the beginning of British Rule or the battle of Kirkee which 
completed the conquest of India. In both these fateful battles 
the soldiers who fought for the British were all Untouchables. 

10. What have the British done to these Untouchables 
who fought for them? It is a shameful story. The first thing 
they did was to stop their recruitment in the army. A more 
unkind, more ungrateful and more cruel act can hardly be 
found in history. In shutting out the Untouchables from the 
Army the British took no note that the Untouchables had 
helped them to establish their rule and had defended it when 
it was menaced by a powerful combination of native forces 
in the Mutiny of 1857. Without any consideration as to its 
effects upon the Untouchables the British by one stroke of the 
pen deprived them of their source of livelihood and let them 
fall to their original depth of degradation. Did the British 
help them in any way to overcome their social disabilities? 
The answer again must be in the negative. The schools, wells 
and public places were closed to the Untouchables. It was 
the duty of the British to see the Untouchables, as citizens, 
were entitled to be admitted to all institutions maintained 
out of public funds. But the British did nothing of the kind 
and what is worst, they justified their inaction by saying 
that Untouchability was not their creation. It may be that 
Untouchability was not the creation of the British. But as 
Government of the day, surely the removal of Untouchability 
was their responsibility. No Government with any sense of the 
functions and duties of a Government could have avoided it. 
What did the British Government do? They refused to touch any 
question which involved any kind of reform of Hindu society. 
So far as social reform was concerned, the Untouchables found 
themselves under a Government distinguished in no vital 
respect from those native Government under which they had 
toiled and suffered, lived and died, through all their weary 
and forgotten history. From a political standpoint, the change 
was nominal. The despotism of the Hindus continued as ever 
before. Far from being curbed by the British High Command, it 


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was pampered. From a social point of view, the British 
accepted the arrangements as they found them and preserved 
them faithfully in the manner of the Chinese tailor who, 
when given an old coat as a pattern, produced with pride 
an exact replica, rents and patched and all. And what is the 
result? The result is that though 200 years have elapsed 
since the establishment of the British Rule in India, the 
Untouchables have remained Untouchables, their wrongs 
remained unredressed and their progress hampered at every 
stage. Indeed, if the British Rule has achieved anything in 
India it is to strengthen and reinvigorate Brahmanism which 
is the inveterate enemy of the Untouchables and which is 
the parent of all the ills from which the Untouchables have 
been suffering for ages. 

11. You have come here to announce that the British are 
abdicating. It cannot be wrong for an Untouchable to ask “to 
whom are you leaving this legacy of authority and power?” 
To the protagonist of Brahmanism, which means to the 
tyrants and oppressors of the Untouchables. Such a method 
of liquidating the British Empire in India need not raise 
any qualms of conscience among members of other parties. 
But what about the British Labour Party? The Labour Party 
claims to stand for the unprivileged and the down-trodden. 
If it is true to its salt, I have no doubt that it will stand 
by the sixty millions of the Untouchables of India and do 
everything necessary to safeguard their position and not 
allow power to pass into the hands of those who by their 
religion and their philosophy of life are unfit to govern and 
are, in fact, the enemies of the Untouchables. It will be no 
more than bare act of atonement on the part of the British 
for the neglect of the Scheduled Castes whose trustees they 
always claimed to be. 

12. What has led me to unburden myself at such length 
is the anxiety caused by the apparent silence of the Mission 
over the question of constitutional safeguards raised by 
the Untouchables? This anxiety has been deepened by the 
attitude taken by the Mission towards the pledges given to 
the Untouchables and to the minorities by His Majesty’s 
Government. The attitude of the Mission in regard to these 
pledges reminds one of Lord Palmerston who said, “We have no 


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206 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

permanent enemies; We have no permanent friends; we 
have only permanent interest.” You can well imagine what a 
terrifying prospect it would present to the Untouchables if the 
impression was created that the Mission was adopting this 
Palmerston maxim as its guide. You came from the under- 
privileged classes of Great Britain and I have full faith that 
you will do your best to prevent a possible betrayal of the 
60 millions of India’s underprivileged. That is why I have 
thought of placing their case before you. If you will allow me 
to say, the Untouchables have got a feeling that they have 
no greater friend in the Mission than Yourself. 

I am, 


Yours Sincerely, 
Dr. B.R. Ambedkar. 

The Rt. Hon’ble Mr. A.V. Alexander, 

C.H.M.P., Member, Cabinet Mission, 

Viceroy’s House, 

New Delhi. 


• • 


Source ; Privately printed leaflet by Dr. Ambedkar. 


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8 

LETTER TO LORD PETHICK-LAWRENCE 
REGARDING STATEMENT ISSUED BY 
CABINET MISSION. 

“22, Prithviraj Road, 
New Delhi, 

Dated, 22nd May 1946. 


Dear Lord Pethick- Lawrence, 

In reading the statement issued by the Cabinet Mission I 
have found that on certain points there is much ambiguity. They 
are set out below : — 

(1) Whether the term “minorities” in paragraph 20 of the 
statement includes the Scheduled Castes ? 

(2) Paragraph 20 lays down that the Advisory Committee on 
the rights of citizens, minorities and tribal and excluded areas 
should contain full representation of the interests affected. Who 
is to see whether the Advisory Committee does in fact contain 
full representation of the interests affected ? 

(3) Whether, in order to see that there is full representation 
of the interests affected, H.M.G. propose to reserve to themselves 
the right to add to the Committee by nomination of persons from 
outside the Constituent Assembly representing such interests ? 
The necessity for nomination from outside seems to be essential, 
for otherwise there is no other method for securing representation 
of tribal and excluded areas from within the Constituent Assembly. 
If the necessity for nomination is admitted, will the principle of 
nomination of members of the Scheduled Castes from outside the 
Constituent Assembly be extended to secure full representation 
of the Scheduled Castes on the Advisory Committee ? 

(4) In paragraph 22 of the statement there is a provision 
for a treaty between the Union Constituent Assembly and the 
United Kingdom providing for certain matters arising out of the 
transfer of power. Will this proposed treaty include a provision for 
the protection of the minorities as was stipulated in the Cripps 
proposals? If Treaty is not to have such a provision, how does 
H.M.G. propose to make the decisions of the Advisory Committee 
binding on the Constituent Assembly ? 


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208 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

(5) The statement includes Europeans under the category of 
“General”. From this it may be presumed that the Europeans 
will have the right to vote for the election of representatives to 
the Constituent Assembly. Are the Europeans entitled to put 
up Europeans as candidates for the election of the Constituent 
Assembly? This is not made clear in the Statement. 

These are questions which require clarification. I shall 
feel grateful if you will be so good as to favour me with your 
answers to them. I am leaving Delhi tonight for Bombay. 
Any reply that you may like to make to the questions set out 
above may kindly be sent to my address in Bombay, which 
is given below. 


Yours sincerely, 
Dr. B.R. Ambedkar” 1 

Address: B. B. & C. I. Railway*, 

Saloon No. 27, Central Station, Bombay. 

• •• 


* Bombay - Baroda & Central India, Railway. 

The Transfer of Power, Vol. VII, No. 359, Pp. 661-662. 


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9 

CLARIFICATION BY LORD PETHICK - 
LAWRENCE TO DR. B. R. AMBEDKAR 

“28th May 1946 

Thank you for your letter of the 22nd May in which you 
ask for elucidation of certain points in the recent Statement. 

You will appreciate that the object of the Delegation is 
to set up machinery whereby Indians can frame their own 
Constitution for an independent India. The object of our 
Statement is to provide a basis on which the parties can 
come together for that purpose and we hope that it will be 
accepted and worked by all concerned. We have limited our 
Statement to the minimum which seemed to us necessary for 
that purpose. Other matters which arise will fall to be decided 
by the Constituent Assembly. 

It is certainly our intention that the term “minorities” in 
paragraph 20 of the Statement includes the Scheduled Castes. 
On the other hand, it will be for the Constituent Assembly 
itself to set up the Advisory Committee and we assume that 
it will desire that it should be fully representative. 

It is not our intention to interfere with the Constituent 
Assembly. The personnel of the Advisory Committee is not 
however limited by our Statement to persons who are members 
of the Constituent Assembly. 

I think your other questions are largely covered by the 
further Statement which was issued by the delegation on 
Saturday evening and of which I enclose a copy. 

Mr. Alexander has asked me to acknowledge and thank 
you for your letter which you sent him recently. He is away 
from Delhi for a few days on a visit to Ceylon and will reply 
to you on his return.” 1 

• • 


1 : The Transfer of Power, Vol. VII No. 399, p. 723. 


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10 

AMBEDKAR FINDS CHAMPION IN CHURCHILL 

“London, May 30. (Renter ). — A pledge that the Conservative 
Party would do its utmost to protect the future of 60 million 
Untouchables “whose melancholy depression by their co- 
religionists constitutes one of the gravest features in the 
problems of the Indian sub-continent” is contained in a cable 
sent by Mr. Winston Churchill to Dr. Ambedkar, Member of 
the Viceroy’s Executive Council. 

Mr. Churchill adds : We shall take our stand on the 
broad principles set forth in the American Declaration of 
Independence that all men are born free and equal and entitled 
to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. 

Dr. Ambedkar had cabled to Mr. Churchill stating : “The 
Cabinet Mission’s proposals are a shameful betrayal of the 
cause of the 60 million Untouchables. The Untouchables all 
over India are greatful to you for your speech in parliament. 
The future of the Untouchables is very dark. We depend upon 
you for safeguarding their interests.” 1 

• • 


1 : The Bombay Chronicle, dated 31st May 1946. 


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11 

HINDU - SCHEDULED CASTES CLASHES IN 

BOMBAY 

June 1, 1946 

The situation in the Worli area where there have been 
frequent clashes between the Scheduled Caste members and 
Caste Hindus during the last four days, resulting so far in 
five killed and nearly seventy injured, is quiet this morning, 
strong police parties have been stationed all over the locality 
and mobile armed police are constantly patrolling the affected 
area. There were only three stray cases of assaults upto mid- 
day today. 

Mr. B.G. Kher, Prime Minister of Bombay, is meeting 
Dr. Ambedkar, Leader of the Scheduled Castes this evening 
with a view to discussing with him how best to bring about 
normal conditions in the Worli area. 

The last four days disturbances have affected the working 
of certain mills because many of the operatives abstained from 
attending work for fear of being stoned. Last night four mills 
had to give up night shift and this morning excepting one 
mill all the other mills worked with depleted staff. 

State of Emergency proclaimed 

A ‘State of emergency’ has been proclaimed by the 
Government of Bombay in the disturbed labour areas in Worli 
and Delisle Road where there have been clashes between Caste 
Hindu workers and Scheduled Class workers. 

This gives wide powers to the police in handling the 
situation, particularly in the matter of rounding up of bad 
characters and externing them from the city limits. 

One more person who had been admitted to hospital 
yesterday with a stab wound died today, thus bringing the 
total killed to 6. 

Dr. Ambedkar Deplores Development 

The Government of Bombay in the Home Department has 
decided on the immediate measures to put down law lessness 
in the Worli Chawls and Delisle Road with a stern hand. 


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212 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

While the Government has made up its mind in this 
respect non-official organisations like the Provincial Congress 
Committee, the Scheduled Castes Federation and local Hindu 
organisations have had consultations on the methods of 
restoring peace in the affected area. 

This move follows an interview which Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, 
Labour Member, Government of India, had with Mr. Morarji 
Desai. Home Minister, Bombay Government and later with 
Mr. B .G. Kher, Prime Minister, this morning. During the 
interview, Dr. Ambedkar is understood to have deplored 
the developments in Worli and suggested certain measures 
to be taken to restore peace. He also assured the Ministers 
that he would advise his followers to remain peaceful and 
exercise more restraint on their part. 

It is understood that Dr. Ambedkar, Mr. Nagindas T. 
Master and Mr. S.K. Patil, have decided to issue a joint 
statement appealing to Caste Hindus, Congress Workers and 
Scheduled Caste people of the locality to remain calm and 
make combined efforts to restore normal conditions. 

The Home Minister is understood to have suggested to Dr. 
Ambedkar the appointment of Chawl Committees in Worli 
who should be held responsible for breaches of the peace and 
for the maintenance of peace. If things went out of hand, 
the Members of the Committees should be held resposible. 

The Police authorities, under instructions from the 
Home Minister, are promulgating certain orders to meet the 
situation. The measures contemplated include round-up of 
all bad characters in the areas and emergency powers to be 
exercised if, the situation showed a tendency to deteriorate. 

Up-to-date, in the four days agitation six persons have 
been killed and 70 injured and a large part of the mill area 
has been kept in a continued state of tension. 

Mr. Rajbhoj’s Statement 

Mr. P.N. Rajbhoj, General Secretary of the All India Scheduled 
Castes Federation, after visiting the Worli Chawls in a statement 
said that the condition of many of his followers was extremely 


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HINDU-SCHEDULED IN BOMBAY 213 

difficult in the disturbed area. They dared not go to work in 
the mills for fear of being assaulted. Many of them had not 
taken even their rations for the week. He complained that 
police protection was not freely available to them, and that 
many innocent persons had been taken into custody. 

Mr. Rajbhoj said that nearly 130 persons of his party had 
received injuries in the recent disturbances and two had died. 

More Responsibility on Hindus Bombay 
Leaders Appeal to Masses 

In a joint statement issued on June 3, on the disturbances 
in Worli and neighbouring labour areas Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, 
Mr. Nagindas T. Master and Mr. S.K. Patil stated that “Being a 
major community, a greater responsibility lies on the shoulders 
of the Hindus. The majority community is bound to exercise 
restraint even under provocation and prove to the minority 
community like the Scheduled Castes that it need have no 
fear in the matter of its life, liberty and property even though 
it refuses to see eye to eye with the majority community on 
political questions.” 

The statement says : “We have been deeply pained by 
the unfortunate incidents which are taking place in Worli, 
Naigaum and Delisie Road areas of the Bombay city between 
the members of the Scheduled Castes and Caste Hindus for 
some time part. The frequent skirmishes between these two 
sections of the people have already resulted in three dead and 
several injured. In our opinion there is no reason whatsoever 
why these two sections should go on attacking each other 
and thereby disturbing the peace of these localities. Even 
assuming that there is any cause for honest and even for 
strong differences of opinion on some point or the other, 
such erratic reprisals can decide nothing. There are other 
and more effective methods of settling disputes and securing 
justice. These acts of violence and bad temper only bring 
disrepute to the fair name of the city and inflict injury and 
even loss of life of the innocent. Although we have no desire 
to apportion the blame for the incidents that have occurred, 
we would like to emphasise that being a major community, 
a greater responsibility lies on the shoulders of the Hindus. 


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214 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

We strongly and emphatically condemn these senseless 
demonstrations of violence and earnestly appeal to the 
good sense of the parties concerned to cry halt to this mad 
behaviour. We trust that they will act towards one another 
as responsible citizens and resume their normal and peaceful 
avocations. — A.P.” 1 


• • 


1 : Jai Bheem : June 11, 1946. 


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12 

FEDERATION EXECUTIVE RESOLVES ON 
DIRECT ACTION 

Cabinet Mission Ignored Unimpeachable Evidence 

“ In a two thousand word resolution, the working Committee 
of the All India Scheduled Castes Federation, calls upon His 
Majesty’s Government and the Labour Party in England to 
take up the cause of the Scheduled Castes in right earnest and 
rectify immediately the worng done to them by the Cabinet 
Mission. “Failing this,” says the resolution, the Working 
Committee feels, “that there will be no alternative for the 
Scheduled Castes but to resort to direct action”. The resolution 
further says: “If circumstances require such a direct action to 
save the Scheduled Castes from the impending catastrophe, 
the working Committee will not hesitaste to ask the Scheduled 
Castes to do so.” 

The Working Committee of the A.I.S.C.F. met at “Raj 
Griha” the residence of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, Labour Member, 
Government of India, on June 4, 1946 under the Presidentship 
of Rao Bahadur N. Sivaraj. 

On the morning of 4th June the President drove to the 
Bomaby Central and met Dr. Babasahib Ambedkar in the 
Saloon. Federation workers from various parts of the country 
met the leaders and discussed with them on various subjects 
concerning the country and the community. They had informed 
the leaders about the untold sufferings and the unimaginable 
honors to which the Scheduled Castes are subjected to by the 
Caste Hindus. 

At two o’clock in the afternoon the Working Committee 
sat for-discussion. Eleven out of 20 members of the 
Committee attended the meeting. These are five from 
Bombay, four from the Central Provinces and one each 
from Madras and the United Provinces. Dr. Ambedkar 
was present by special invitation. The meeting took up 
for consideration a report submitted by Mr. P.N. Rajabhoj, 
General Secretary of the Federation, on the general reactions 
of the Scheduled Castes People to the proposals of the 


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216 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

British Cabinet Mission. The report, it is learnt, expresses the 
dissatisfaction of the community in that they had not been 
given any representation in the proposed Constituent Assembly. 

The Working Committee has passed ten important 
resolutions on the British Cabinet Proposals on the interim 
Government. 

The Committee has demanded that Scheduled Castes, 
should have the right to be represented in the Legislatures 
through separate electorates, and that the constitution shall 
contain a provision making it obligatory on the part of the 
Government to undertake the formation of separate settlements 
for Scheduled Castes. 

The Committee assures the Scheduled Castes that “there is 
no reason to be panicky and given courage and solidarity, their 
cause which is the cause of justice and humanity, is bound to 
triumph notwithstanding the machinations of their enemies.” 

The Working Committee has authorised the President 
to constitute a Council of Action charged with the duty of 
examining the lines of direct action and to determine the 
action most effective and fix the time for lauching it. 

Copies of the Scheduled Castes’ Federation’s resolution 
are being forwarded to the Secretary of State for India and 
the Viceroy in New Delhi and Prime Minister Attlee and 
Mr. Churchill in London. 

“In the event of their demand for such protection being 
turned down, the Committee has authorised the President, 
Rao Bahadur N. Sivaraj, to constitute a Council of Action to 
decide upon “the most effective means of direct action to get 
their demands conceded.” 

A spokesman on behalf of the Working Committee of the 
Scheduled Castes Federation explained that the Committee 
had focussed attention on the future constitutional settlement 
because they were more concerned with the ultimate statutory 
protection of the Scheduled Castes, rather than in the formation 
of the interim Government. He added: “We shall, however, 
be willing to co-operate with any one in the formation of the 
Interim Government, provided our co-operation is sought on 
honourable terms.” 


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FEDERATION EXECUTIVE ON DIRECTION 217 

The spokesman stated that the Cabinet Mission had 
partially retrieved the prestige of the British Government by 
declaring, in their second statement, that the conclusion of 
the Indo-British treaty would be dependent on the rights of 
minorities being protected adequately. What the Secheduled 
Castes Federation demanded, however, was that suitable 
amendements be made here and now in the Cabinet Mission’s 
proposals to ensure this. He could not see any difficulty in 
this being done just as in the case of the Muslims. 

The Spokesman in conclusion explained that the direct 
action clause in the resolution would become operative only 
if the Federation failed to achieve its goal. There was no 
intention 10 take precipitate actions. 

A.I.S.C.F’s Ultimatum to the Cabinet Mission 

[The following is the full text of the resolutions passed at the 
Working Committee Meeting of the All India Scheduled Castes 
Federation held at Bombay during the first week of June ] 

The Working Committee of the All-India Scheduled Castes 
Federation has taken into consideration (1) the first statement 
issued by the Cabinet Mission on the Constitution of India; (2) 
the Press interviews given by the Members of the Mission in 
amplification of their statement (3) the second statement made 
by the Cabinet Mission and (4) the correspondence between 
the Cabinet Mission and the Hon’ble Dr. B. R. Ambedkar. 
There are many points arising from the statement of the 
Cabinet Mission on which the Working Committee would like 
to state its views. For the present, the Working Committee 
prefers to deal with the plan of the Cabinet Mission for 
framing the future constitution of India in so far as it affects 
the Scheduled Castes. 

2. The Working Committee has noticed with profound 
indignation that the Cabinet Mission has not mentioned 
the Scheduled Castes even once in the course of their 
statement of 5000 words. It is difficult to understand 
the working of the mind of the Cabinet Mission. The 
Mission could not have been unaware of the existence of 
the Untouchables, their disabilities, the tyrannies and 
oppression practised upon them day to day by the Caste 
Hindus all throughout India. The Cabinet Mission could, 


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218 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

not have been unaware of the pronouncement made by His 
Majesty’s Government that Untouchables were separate 
from the Caste Hindus and constituted a distinct element 
in the national life of India. The Cabinet Mission could not 
have been unaware of the pledges given by His Majesty’s 
Government that no constitution which had not the consent 
of the Scheduled Castes would be imposed upon them. The 
Cabinet Mission could not have been unaware of the fact that 
at the Simla Conference convened by Lord Wavell only a year 
ago the Scheduled Castes were given a separate representation 
from the Caste Hindus. Having regard to these circumstances, 
the Working Committee feels no hesitation in saying that 
in ignoring the Scheduled Castes in the manner in which it 
has done, the Cabinet Mission has brought the name of the 
British nation into disgrace and disrepute. 

3. The Working Committee has noticed the statement 
made by the Cabinet Mission in the course of Press interview 
that they have made double provision for the representation 
of the Scheduled Castes in the Constituent Assembly and 
in the Advisory Committee. The Working Committee feels 
bound to say that these provisions are absolutely illusory and 
unworthy of serious consideration. In the plan set out by them, 
the Mission have not reserved any seat for the Scheduled 
Castes in the election by the Provincial Legislatures to the 
Constituent Assembly as they have done for the Sikhs and the 
Muslims. There is no obligation on the Provincial Legislatures 
to elect a specified number of Scheduled Caste members 
to the Constituent Assembly. It is quite possible that the 
Constituent Assembly may not have in it any representative 
of the Scheduled Castes. And even if a few representatives of 
the Scheduled Castes should find a place in the Constituent 
Assembly, they being elected by Hindu votes, they can never 
represent the true interests of the Scheduled Castes. As to 
the Advisory Committee, it cannot be substantially different 
from the Constituent Assembly. It will only be a reflection of 
the Constituent Assembly. 

4. The Working Committee finds it extremely difficult to 
understand how the Cabinet Mission could how come to believe 
that they had mand enough and good provision for giving 


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FEDERATION EXECUTIVE ON DIRECTION 219 

effective voice to the Scheduled Castes in the Constituent 
Assembly and the Advisory Committee. Aboundant and 
incontrovertible evidence was presented to the Cabinet 
Mission to show that the real representatives of the Scheduled 
Castes are those who were elected in the primary elections 
for which the Scheduled Castes have separate electorates, 
that the present Scheduled Caste members of the Provincial 
Legislatures who fought the primary elections were at the 
bottom of the poll and that on account of the victious system 
of joint electorates the men who were at the bottom in the 
primary elections came to the top in the final elections only 
because of the Caste Hindu votes and that therefore the 
Scheduled Caste members of the Provincial Legislatures in 
no way represent the Scheduled Castes but are the tools 
of the Caste Hindus. Far from making double provision 
for representing the Scheduled Castes in the Constituent 
Assembly and the Advisory Committee, the Mission has 
without compunction ignored this unimpeachable evidence 
and without any justification committed the gravest act of 
treachery in leaving the Scheduled Castes to the mercy of 
the Hindus. The Working Committee desires to inform the 
Mission that the Scheduled Castes are not impressed either 
by their logic or by their sense of moral responsibility. 

5. While the whole plan of the Cabinet Mission is 
mischievous in as much as it proposes to solve the minority 
problem by allowing freedom to the Muslim majority to 
dispose of the Non-Muslim minorities in the Muslim zone 
and to the Hindu majority to dispose of the Non-Hindu 
minorities including the Scheduled Castes in the Hindu zone. 
The Working Committee finds that the Cabinet Mission in 
framing its plan has show greater concern for the protection 
of the Muslim community but have paid no attention whatever 
for safeguarding the interests of the Scheduled Castes. In 
para 15 of their plan the Cabinet Mission have prescribed 
what matters are to be beyond the reach of the Constituent 
Assembly. The object behind this provision in para 15 is to 
prevent the domination of the Muslim community by the Hindu 
community. The fear which the Scheduled Castes have of 
the Hindu majority is far greater and far more real than the 


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220 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

Muslim community has or can have. The Scheduled Castes 
have been urging that the only effective protection they can 
have is representation through separate electorates and the 
provision for separate settlement. The Cabinet Mission was 
aware of these demands and all the evidence in support 
of them. Following the principle adopted by the Cabinet 
Mission to guarantee freedom from the domination of the 
Hindu majority in the manner referred to above it was 
possible for the Cabinet to lay down in the same para 15 a 
further limitation of the powers of the Constituent Assembly 
by laying down that the Scheduled Castes should have the 
right to be represented in the Legislature through separate 
electorates and to have a statutory provision for separate 
settlements as means of escape from the domination of the 
Hindu majority. 

6. The Working Committee has noted that the Cabinet 
Mission has in its second statement, provided that the 
ratification of the Treaty between the United Kingdom and 
the Indian Constituent Assembly will be subject to proper 
safeguards being made for the protection of the minorities 
including the Scheduled Castes. The Cabinet Mission in its 
hurry to placate the Congress Party had not dared to include 
this provision in Clause 22 of its first statement although it 
had formed part of the Cripps proposals of 1942. 

While the Working Committee is glad that the Mission 
has retrieved its position and saved the honour of the British 
people in whose name pledges were given to the Scheduled 
Castes, the working Committee demands that the plan of 
the Cabinet Mission should be amended in the following 
respects : — 

(1) The following clauses should be added as clause (7) 
to para 15 of the Statement : — 

“(7) The Scheduled Castes should have the right to be 
represented in the Legislatures through separate electorates.” 

(8) That the Constitution shall contain a provision making 
it obligatory on the Government to undertake the formation 
of separate settlements for the Scheduled Castes. 


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FEDERATION EXECUTIVE ON DIRECTION 221 

(2) Para 20 of the First statement should be so amended as 
to make those members of the Scheduled Castes who topped 
the polls in the last primary elections, members of the Advisory 
Committee and be allowed to elect five other representatives 
of the Scheduled Castes to the Advisory Council. 

7. The Working Committee desires to inform His Majesty’s 
Government and British Labour Party that they should take 
up the cause of the Scheduled Castes in right earnest and at 
once rectify the wrong done to them by the Cabinet Mission. 
Failing this, the Working Committee feels that there will be 
no alternative for the Scheduled Castes but to resort to direct 
action. If circumstances require, the Working Committee 
in order to save the Scheduled Castes from this impending 
catastrophy will not hesitate to ask the Scheduled Castes to 
do so. 

8. The Working Committee is aware of the panic caused 
among the Scheduled Castes by the plan put forth by the 
Cabinet Mission. The Working Committee desires to tell the 
Scheduled Castes to maintain the courage and heroism they 
have shown in fighting the last elections against the Congress 
single handed and without resources in spite of the acts of 
violence, coercion and arson practised by the Congress and when 
every other party had shut its shop, and assures them that there 
is no reason to be panicky and given courage and solidarity, 
their cause which is the cause of justice and humanity is bound 
to triumph notwithstanding the machinations of their enemies. 

9. The Working Committee hereby authorises the President 
to constitute a Council of Action charged with the duty of 
examining the lines of direct action and to determine the one 
most effective and fix the time for launching the same. 

10. The Working Committee has noticed : 

(1) the campaign of tyranny and oppression which is being 
carried on by Caste Hindus against the Scheduled Castes in 
villages and towns throughout the length and breadth of India 
for no other reason except that they fought the elections against 
the Congress, and which has caused many deaths and injuries; 

(2) the shameful part which the police have been playing 
in siding with the Caste Hindus in belabouring and arresting 
innocent men and women from among the Scheduled Castes. 


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222 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

(3) the part played by the rationing shops in refusing to 
supply rations to the Scheduled Castes ; 

(4) the conspiracy of silence observed by the newspapers 
who have never cared to condemn these outrages on innocent 
men and women. 

(5) the utter indifference shown by the Provincial 
Government in protecting the lives and properties of the 
Scheduled Castes. 

The Working Committee cannot help feeling that this 
conduct of the majority community proves beyond the shadow 
of a doubt how unworthy the Hindu community is to be 
trusted with power and that if the majority does not improve 
its morality the Scheduled Castes would be forced to protect 
themselves by every means open to them.” 1 


• • 


1 :Jai Bheem dated, June 11 and 18, 1946. 


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13 

REACTIONS TO THE BRITISH CABINET PLAN 
DR. AMBEDKAR’S PROTEST TO CHURCHILL 

The Cabinet Mission published a “State Paper” on 16th May 
1946 making no provisions for safeguarding the interest of the 
Untouchables. Dr. B. R. Ambedkar had taken serious note of it and 
written to Mr. Churchill to look into the matter. In response to the 
letter written by Dr. Ambedkar, Mr. Churchill responded positively. 
The letter written by Dr. B. R. Ambedkar is as under :Editors . 

“Mr. Winston Churchill cited the American Declaration of 
Independence in promising that the Conservative Party “would do 
its utmost to protect the future of the 60,000,000 Untouchables in 
India”. 

“Replying to a protest from Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, Member of 
the Viceroy’s Executive Council, that the British Cabinet Mission’s 
Proposals for an Independent Indian Government were a shameful 
betrayal” of the cause of the Untouchables, the Opposition Leader told 
Dr. Ambedkar in a telegram : “We shall take our stand on the broad 
principles set forth in the American Declaration of Independence 
that all men are born free and equal and entitled to life, liberty, and 
the pursuit of happiness.” 

The text of Dr. Ambedkar’s message ran : “The Cabinet 
Mission’s proposals are a shameful betrayal of the cause of sixty 
millions of Untouchables. No representation in the Constitutent 
Assembly, no representation in the Advisory Committee, no protection 
by treaty, will mean handing over the Untouchables, bound hand 
and foot. Untouchables all over India are grateful to you for your 
speech in Parliament. The future of Untouchables is very dark. We 
depend upon you for safeguarding their interest.” 

Mr. Churchill replied, ‘You may ensure that the Conservative 
Party, will do its utmost to protect the future of sixty million 
Untouchables whose melancholy depression by their co-religionists 
constituted one of the gravest features in the problem of the Indian 
sub-continent. We shall take our stand on the broad principles set 
forth in the American Declaration of Independence that all men 
are born free and equal and entitled to life, liberty and the pursuit 
of happiness”. 1 

• • 


x : Jai Bheem dated 18th June 1946 


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14 

I AM FIGHTING FOR RIGHTS OF SCHEDULED 

CASTES 
TELEGRAM TO 

PRIME MINISTER ATLEE-LONDON 

The Cabinet Mission had recommended inadequate 
representation of Scheduled Castes in the interim Government 
for India. Dr. B. R. Ambedker sent a telegram to Mr. Atlee then 
Prime Minister of the Great Britain : Editors. 

At time of last year’s Simla Conference Viceroy on my 
protest and with consent of Home Government promised increase 
Scheduled Castes’s representation in Interim Government to 
two seats in Council of fourteen stop I had demanded three 
stop Compromise I accepted two stop. New proposals interim 
Government announced yesterday give Scheduled Castes only 
one seat stop. This gross breach of solemn promise given after 
due deliberation stop. One seat most unfair stop Mission is 
treating sixty million Untouchables as being equal to four millions 
Sikhs, three million Christians in matter of representation stop 
Scheduled Caste nominee does not represent Scheduled Castes, 
is elected entirely by Hindu Votes and is creature of Congress 
stop Representation to Scheduled Castes Congressman is no 
representation to Scheduled Castes stop. It is representation to 
Congress stop Cabinet Mission heaping upon Scheduled Castes one 
wrong after another, bent on sacrificing them with view appease 
Congress and desrtoying their independent position in public life 
of country stop. Please intervene and redress wrong by directing 
Mission to give Scheduled Castes two seats to be filled by nominees 
of Federation which Mission knows alone represents Scheduled 
Castes stop Scheduled Castes insist on two seats or none stop. To 
avoid misunderstanding of my motive I like to state that I have 
no desire to be in Interim Government and will stand out stop 
I am fighting for rights of Scheduled Castes stop. Hope there is 
some sense of justice left in British Government — Dr. Ambedkar 

Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, 

Dated 17-6-1946. 22, Prithviraj Road, 

New Delhi. 

• • 

1 . Quoted, Khairmode, Vol. 8, P. 73 and LP&j. and LP& j/10/50: Pp 81-8 
and Atlee Papers, University College, Oxford. 


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15 

DOES THE INDIAN NATIONAL CONGRESS 
REPRESENT THE UNTOUCHABLES 
OF INDIA ? 

Since the Cabinet Mission did not provide proper representation 
and safeguards to the Untouchables in its proposal, Dr. B. R. 
Ambedkar sent a memorandum to Mr. Atlee, Mr. Churchill and 
other Leaders of the Labour Party immediately after issuing the 
telegram. The text of this memorandum is as follows Editors. 

A Critique of the Proposals of the Cabinet Mission for 
Indian Constitutional Changes in so for as they affect the 
Scheduled Castes 

(Untouchables) 

by 

Dr. B.R. Ambedkar 

The Cabinet Mission sent out to India by the Labour 
Government early this year to resolve the political deadlock 
in India set out a Scheme for the framing of the constitution 
by a Constituent Assembly. This Constituent Assembly is to 
be composed of representatives chosen by the members of the 
Provincial Legislatures by a single transferable vote. For the 
purpose of the composition of the Constituent Assembly the 
Cabinet Mission’s Scheme has divided the members of the 
provincial legislatures into three categories (1) Muslims (2) Sikhs 
and (3) General, each with a fixed quota of seats. Each category 
has a Separate Electorate whereby the Muslim representatives of 
the Constituent Assembly will be elected by the Muslim members 
of the Provincial Legislature, the Sikhs by the Sikh members and 
the General by all the rest. The ‘general’ includes (1) Hindus, (2) 
Scheduled Castes, (3) Indian Christians, and (4) Anglo-Indians. 

2. The Scheduled Castes of India were greatly surprised to 
find that they were lumped together with the Hindus. It has 
been declared time and again by His Majesty’s Government that 
His Majesty’s Government recognizes that the Scheduled Castes 
are separate element in the national life of India and that His 
Majesty’s Government will not impose any constitution to which 
the Scheduled Castes are not willing party. The question is asked 


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226 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

why the Cabinet Mission recognized the Muslims and the 
Sikhs as separate elements and why they refused to give the 
Scheduled Castes the same status ? 

In the debate that took place in Parliament on the 18th of 
July 1946 on the proposals of the Cabinet Mission, Sir Stafford 
Cripps, Mr. Alexander and Lord Pethick-Lawrence tried to 
defend themselves against this criticism, Their argument was 
two-fold : — 

(1) That, in the elections to the Provincial Legislature 
which took place in February last, the seats reserved for 
the Scheduled Castes were captured by the Congress and 
that this shows that the Scheduled Castes were with the 
Congress and trusted their destiny to the Congress i.e. the 
Hindus and that there was no ground for separating them. 

(2) That, there is to be an Advisory Committee on 
the minorities in which the Scheduled Castes will be 
represented and will have a voice in the framing of the 
safeguards necessary for them. 

The second defence is worse than useless. The reasons are 
obvious. The status and powers of the Advisory Committee are 
not defined. The quantum of representation of the Scheduled 
Castes is not prescribed. The decisions of the Advisory 
Committee are left to be carried by a bare majority. Lastly, 
the Advisory Committee cannot be anything else than a mere 
reflection of the Constituent Assembly. The representatives 
of the Scheduled Castes in the Constituent Assembly all 
belong to the Congress Party and they do not represent the 
Scheduled Castes. They are, therefore, subject to the Mandate 
of the Congress Party. Those of them who will be put in the 
Advisory Committe will be subject to the same Party Mandate. 
They cannot put forth the real point of view of the Scheduled 
Castes either in the Constituent Assembly or on the Advisory 
Committee. 

The principal line of defence used by the members 
of the Cabinet Mission in justification of their failure 
to give the Scheduled Castes separate and independent 
representation is that the Congress won the Scheduled Caste 
seats in the last election. Even, this line of defence cannot 
stand. It is true that in the final election the Congress 
did capture the Scheduled Castes seats. But the reply is 


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DOES THE OF INDIA ? 227 

that this election results should not have been taken as the test 
for various reasons. 

Firstly, the parties such as the Scheduled Castes who had 
co-operated with the British Government were at a discount with 
the people on that very account. 

Secondly, the trial of the Indian National Army men which 
synchronized with the election placed the Congress at an 
advantage and other parties at a disadvantage. If the Indian 
National Army trial had not been staged at the time of the election 
the Congress would have lost completely, so low was its stock. 

Apart from these two reasons why the election results 
should not have been as a test, there is a special reason why it 
should not have been taken to detemine whether the Congress 
did or did not represent the Scheduled Castes. That reason is 
that the final elevation for the Scheduled Castes seats is by a 
system of joint electorate in which the Hindus also vote. The 
Hindus vote being preponderent it is easy for the Congress to 
elect a candidate belonging to the Scheduled Castes standing for 
the Scheduled Castes seats entirely by Hindu votes. That the 
Scheduled Castes representative in Provincial Legislatures who 
stood on the Congress ticket were elected solely by Hindu votes 
and not by the votes of the Scheduled Castes is a fact which 
even the Cabinet Mission will not be able to deny. 

The real test by which to determine whether the Congress 
represents the Scheduled Castes is to examine the results of the 
Primary Elections which preceded the Final Elections, for in the 
Primary Election the Scheduled Castes have a Separate Electorate 
in which the Hindus have no right to vote. The Primary Election, 
therefore, reflects the real sentiments of the Scheduled Castes. 
What does the result of the Primary Election show ? Does it show 
that the Scheduled Castes are with the Congress ? 

The Scheduled Castes have been allotted 151 seats in the 
Provincial Legislatures. They are distributed among the different 
Provinces except Sindh and the North-West Frontier Province. 

Primary Election is not obligatory. It becomes obligatory only 
if there are more than four candidates contesting for a seat. 

In the last Primary Election which preceded the Final Election, 
Primary Election became obligatory in 40 constituencies out of 151. 


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228 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 
They were distributed as follows 


Madras . . . . 10 

Bombay . . . . 3 

Bengal . . . . 12 

United province . . . . 3 

Central Provinces . . . . 5 

Punjab . . . . 7 


There were no Primary Elections in the Provinces of Bihar 
and Orissa. 

The results of the Primary Elections in the 40 constituencies 
are tabulated in the Appendix which accompanies this note. 
The results prove : — 

(I) That, out of 283 candidates the Congress put up only 46 
candidates on its ticket (See Table I) and out of 168 successful 
candidates had only 38 to its credit (See Table V)’. 

(II) The object of a Party in entering into a Primary 
Election is to drive out all rival parties from the Final Election 
by putting up at least four candidates on its party ticket. 
Whether a party can put up four candidates on its ticket 
depends upon how much confidence it has in the voters to 
vote for its party ticket. The Congress has not ventured to 
put up more than one candidate in each constituency. This 
shows that the Congress had no confidence that the Scheduled 
Caste voters would vote for the Congress ticket. If there is 
any party which has ventured to put up four candidates for 
each it has contested, it is the Scheduled Castes Federation. 
(See Table II, Parts I, V, Columns 3 and 4). 

(III) Measured in terms of votes cast in favour of the 
Congress it is proved beyond dispute that the Congress 
obtained only 28 per cent of the total votes polled in the 
Primary Election (See Table IV). 

(IV) If there was not the temptation to get oneself elected 
in the final election with the help of the Hindu votes, the 
Independents would all be members of the Scheduled Castes 
Federation. On that assumption the Scheduled Castes 
Federation is the only party which represents the Scheduled 
Castes and the 72 per cent voting in favour of the Non-Congress 
Parties should be set out to its credit (See Table IV). 


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DOES THE OF INDIA ? 229 

The members of the Cabinet Mission argued that 
Dr. Ambedkar’s following was confined to the Scheduled Castes 
in the Bombay Presidency and the Central Provinces only. 

There is no foundation for this statement. The Scheduled 
Castes Federation is functioning in other Provinces as well and 
it has won notable electoral success as great as in Bombay and 
the Central Provinces. In making this statement the Mission 
has failed to take account of the single victory Dr. Ambedkar 
secured in the election to the Constituent Assembly. He 
stood as a candidate from the Bengal Provincial Legislature 
Assembly. He secured 7 first preference votes and topped the 
poll so far as the general seats were concerned beating even 
Mr. Sarat Chandra Bose, the Leader of the Congress party. If 
Dr. Ambedkar has no influence outside Bombay and Central 
Provinces how did he get elected from Bengal? It must be 
further remembered that there are 30 seats for the Scheduled 
Castes in the Bengal Provincial Assembly. Out of the 30 as 
many as 28 were elected on the Congress ticket. Of the two 
who belonged to his party one fell ill on the day of election. 
This means that 6 Scheduled Caste members elected on the 
Congress ticket broke the Congress Mandate and voted for 
Dr. Ambedkar. This shows that even these Scheduled Caste 
members who belong to the Congress regard him as the 
leader of the Scheduled Castes. This is complete disproof of 
the statement made by the Mission. 

The Congress has been so much encouraged by the 
surrender of the Mission that a letter addressed to the 
Mission the Congress has gone to the length of denying 
that the Scheduled Castes are a minority. This means that 
the Congress is not prepared to give the Scheduled Castes 
the same safeguards as they would to other minorities. The 
Mission has not repudiated this suggestion of the Congress. 
Herein lurks a great danger and it is necessary to pin down 
the Mission in the course of the debate and compel them to 
say if they do or do not regard the Scheduled Castes as a 
minority. 

The Cabinet Mission have said in their proposals that before 
sovereignty is transferred Parliament will have to satisfy itself 
that the safeguards for Minorities are adequate. The Mission has 


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230 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

nowhere defined the machinery for examining the safeguards. 
Whether there would be a Joint Committee of the two Houses 
of Parliament to examine the minority safeguards has not 
been made clear. The Mission has not even stated that His 
Majesty’s Government will exerecise its independent judgment 
in coming to its conclusion on the adequacy of the safeguards. 
It is necessary to have these matters defined because this 
provision was an afterthought with the Mission and did not 
form part of its original proposals which gives the impression 
that this was intended merely to act as a stop to the minorities. 


Analysis of the Results 
of 

Primary Elections 

Held in December, 1945 

(Preliminary to the General Election in India Held in 
February 1946) for Choosing Candidates from 
the Scheduled Castes (Untouchables) for 
the Seats Reserved for the Scheduled Castes 
in the Provincial Legislatures of India 


Note. -The Tables in this Analysis are prepared from official figures. 


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232 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 


TABLE II 

Parties which contested the Primary Election 
for seats reserved for the Scheduled Castes 
shown constituency-wise 

PART I-MADRAS 


Constituency in 
which Primary 
Election was 
contested 

Total of 
Candidates 
who took 
part in 
the 

contest 

Parties which fought the election and the 
number of candidates put up by each 

Congress 

Scheduled 

Castes 

Federation 

Communists 

No-Party 

Candidates 

(Independents) 

1 . Amlapuram 

7 

1 

4 

2 

none 

2. Coconada 

5 

1 

4 

none 

none 

3. Bandar 

5 

1 

1 

3 

none 

4. Cuddappa 

5 

1 

4 

none 

none 

5. Penukonda 

5 

1 

4 

none 

none 

6. Tirnvannamali 

6 

1 

5 

none 

none 

7. Tindivanam 

6 

1 

5 

none 

none 

8. Mannergudi 

5 

1 

none 

i 

3 

9. Pollachi 

7 

1 

4 

none 

2 

10. Nammakal 

5 

1 

4 

none 

none 

Total 

56 

10 

35 

6 

5 


PART II-BOMBAY 


Constituency in 
which Primary 
Election was 
contested 


Total of 
Candidates 
who took 
part in the 
contest 


Parties which fought the election and the 
number of candidates put up by each 


Scheduled No-Party 

Congress Castes Candidates 

Federation (independents) 


Bombay City (North) 7 

Bombay City 6 

(Byeulla& Parel) East 5 

Khandesh (East) 


11 5 

11 4 

1 4 none 


Total 


18 3 6 


9 


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DOES THE INDIAN 


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233 



11 Tipperah .. 5 1 none none 


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234 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

TABLE II 

PART IV— UNITED PROVINCES 


Parties which fought the election and the 
number of candidates put up by each 


Constituency 

in 

which Primary 
Election was 
Contested 

Total of 
Candidates 
who took 
part in the 
contest 

Congress 

Scheduled 

Castes 

Federation 

Harijan 

League 

Hindu 

Maha 

Sabha 

No-Party 

Candidates 

(Indepen- 

dents) 

Agra City 

11 

1 

5 

1 

1 

3 

Allahabad City 

6 

1 

4 

none 

none 

3 

Almora 

8 

3 

none 

none 

none 

3 

Total 

25 

5 

9 

i 

i 

9 


PART V-CENTRAL PROVINCES 


Parties which fought the election and the 
number of candidates put up by each 


Constituency in 
which Primary 
Election was 
contested 

Total of 
Candidates 
who took 
part in the 
contest 

Congress 

Scheduled 

Castes 

Federation 

Harijan 

League 

No-Party 

Candidates 

(Independents) 

Nagpur-cam 

Sakoli 

5 

1 

2 

1 

1 

Hinganghat 

6 

1 

2 

1 

2 

Bhandara 

5 

1 

3 

1 

none 

Yeotmal 

6 

1 

2 

none 

3 

Chikhli 

6 

1 

3 

none 

2 

Total 

28 

5 

12 

3 

8 


PART VI-PUNJAB 


Constituency in 
which Primary 
Election was 
contested 


Total of 
Candidates 
who took 
part in the 
contest 


Gurgaon 10 

Kurnal 10 

Ambala 8 

Hoshiyarpur 9 

Jullunder 6 

Ludhiyana 10 

Lyalpur 6_ 

Total .. 59 


Parties which fought the election and the 
number of candidates put up by each 


No-Party 

Congress Unionists Candidates 

(Independents) 


1 

1 

1 

1 


4 


1 


1 

1 


3 


9 

9 

8 

7 

4 

9 

6 

52 


Showing Province-wise the Votes obtained by different Parties which contested the Primary Elections 


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DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 


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16 

I AM A GREATER NATIONALIST THAN 
ANYBODY ELSE 

“ Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar now gave a clarion call to his people 
to give battle for the cause of justice and humanity and to expose 
the machinations and conspiracy hatched against the rights of his 
people. He knew this was the last opportunity to assert the rights 
and will of his people; for he feared that a free India might revert to 
the old traditions and his people would be impoverished, neglected 
and ostracized from society and public services. 

On June 29, 1946 a caretaker Government was announced and 
the British Mission left for London, leaving other details to be settled 
by the Viceroy. 

The battle started on July 15, 1946, at Poona, synchronizing 
with the opening of the Poona session of the Bombay Assembly.” 1 

Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar in an interview with the A.P. A. on 
17th July 1946 said, 

“We like this country to progress as much as anybody else does. 
We do not want to stand in the way of that. All we want is that our 
position is safeguarded in the future India.” 

“To this end we will take part in every kind of struggle against the 
British proposals of May 1 6. If the Muslim Leauge starts any direct 
struggle against the British — I fully support the stand taken by the 
Sikhs at present — then they will also get our support in their action. ” 

He also warned that the present Satyagraha movement by the 
representatives of the All India Scheduled Castes Federation in 
Poona would ultimately become a country wide struggle in the same 
“form of that launched by the Congress in August 1942.” 

“This is only the beginning of our struggle,” Dr. Ambedkar 
said : “when the struggle is forced to take the form of the Congress 
movement, we will do every thing that the Congress had done in 
the August disturbances.” 

Dr. Ambedkar described the Scheduled Castes demonstrations 
now going on in Poona as a “Protest against the breaking of every sort 
of promise given to the Scheduled Castes by the British Government 
during the past 28 years.” 


1 : Keer, P. 381. 


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I AM A GREATER ANYBODY ELSE 239 

“Unless we secure recognition as a minority entitled to 
protection and safeguards in the Constitution, this struggle 
will continue elsewhere in a different form. Then it will be 
time for the Provinces to launch a countrywide struggle against 
the unjust proposals of the British Government.” 

Asked whether he had issued any directive to the Provincial 
organisations on the form they should adopt in carrying out 
demonstrations, Dr. Ambedkar replied : “we will leave it to 
the Provinces to adopt their own form of struggle. All these 
things cannot be discussed theoretically. Every Province has 
its own background and what may be effective form of struggle 
in one Province may not be suitable to another.” 

Dr. Ambedkar said it was the intention of the Federation 
to continue the demonstrations at Poona in the present form 
of sending small groups to offer Satyagraha. “The main 
difficulty against a large-scale struggle in Poona at present is 
rationing,” Dr. Ambedkar added, “Otherwise, we would have 
had a very much bigger demonstration.” 

Asked whether he provisionally planned to offer Satyagraha 
in the near future, the leader of the Scheduled Castes 
replied, “It is not necessary for a General to be present on 
the battlefield. I have got trusted lieutenants who look after 
the struggle and certainly when the development of events 
necessitates my presence there and my taking part in the 
struggle, I will be on the scene. 

“At present I get all the latest information on the struggle 
from a personal messenger despatched daily from Poona.” 

No Invitation from Gandhi 

Dr. Ambedkar said he had tentatively planned to leave 
for Poona on Sunday “to see things personally”. He said he 
had received no invitation from Mr. Gandhi or any top-rank 
Congressmen “to open talks for a settlement of the affair”. 

He added that the Federation, however, was willing to start 
negotiations with the parties concerned. Dr. Ambedkar continued : 
“I would like to point out clearly that the Scheduled Castes in 
this country think that Mr. Gandhi agreed to accept the long-term 


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240 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

proposals of the British Cabinet mainly on the ground that 
the British Ministers agreed to ignore the Scheduled Castes. 
That is what Mr. Gandhi found to be the greatest advantage 
in the long-term proposals notwithstanding their vicious 
character, of which Congress leaders themselves have spoken 
so much recently. The British Government have agreed to 
sacrifice the Scheduled Castes in order to win over Congress, 
and this I charge as absolute breach of faith, he asserted. 

“We like this country to progress as much as anybody 
else does. We do not want to stand in the way of that. All 
we want is that our position is safeguarded in the future 
India.” 1 

On 21st July 1946 a meeting of Untouchables was 
convened at Poona in Ahilyashram. After the meeting, 
Dr. Amebedkar addressed a Press Conference. The report 
of that Press Conference is as under: Editors. 

Future of Scheduled Castes 
Congress was asked for Blue-Print 

Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, addressing a Press Conference 
in Poona today, demanded an open declaration from the 
Congress how they proposed to safeguard the interests of 
60,000,000 Untouchables in the future Constitution of India. 
He asked for a blue-print and no promises in general terms. 

The Satyagraha launched in Poona was only the beginning 
of a countrywide struggle to secure for the Scheduled 
Castes their just political rights. He claimed that the Poona 
Satyagraha was being conducted on a high moral plane and 
the non-violent behaviour of the whole mass of volunteers 
provided a lesson even to Mr. Gandhi who regarded himself 
as a ‘graduate in Satyagraha’. He issued, however, a warning 
that when moral resources were exhausted they would look 
for ‘other means’ to register their protest. 

Dr. Ambedkar was surprised that the Prime Minister, 
Mr. B. G Kher should have asked the question What have 
the Harijans to get against the Bombay Government ?’ The 
answer was simple. 


Reprinted — Jai Bhim : August 13, 1946, Pp-1 and 2 


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I AM A GREATER ANYBODY ELSE 241 

‘Heirs to Power’ 

The Cabinet Mission had decided that the heirs to British 
power, authority and sovereignty in this country, were two 
communities only - the Muslims and the Caste Hindus. In the 
proposed constituent assembly all questions were going to be 
decided by the simple majority votes of the Caste Hindus alone. 
The British people had decided to quit India and their powers 
would be inherited by the Caste Hindus and the Muslims. 
Were the Scheduled Castes people then not entitled to ask 
the Caste Hindus what they proposed doing for the safety of 
60,000,000 Untouchables. 

Dr. Ambedkar claimed that the Bombay Government 
and the Bombay Legislative Assembly were part and parcel 
of Congress and the Satyagraha was intended as a protest 
against the Congress policy. 

Dr. Ambedkar announced that he had no desire to launch 
Satyagraha in Muslim Provinces such as the Punjab and 
Bengal because ‘we have no quarrel with the Muslims. They 
have assured us that our interest will be safeguarded’. 

Indignantly repudiating that the Satyagraha movement 
was motivated by a sense of frustration, Dr. Ambedkar said 
that in the last election the Scheduled Castes had won cent 
percent. There would have been a frustration if the Scheduled 
Castes votes had voted for candidates put by the Congress. 
He was prepared to prove statistically that not even four per 
cent of the Scheduled Castes voted for Congress Harijans who 
had been returned entirely on the votes of Caste Hindus. He 
did not suffer from a sense of defeat. It was triumph that 
90 per cent of the Scheduled Castes were behind his Federation. 

Poona Pact 

The Poona Pact which prevented true representatives of the 
Scheduled Castes from being returned to legislatures must go. 
It had resulted in disenfranchising 60,000,000 Untouchables. 
Even according to international law no treaty was final or 
sacrosanct as the Poona Pact had now become injurious to 
their cause, the Scheduled Castes were entitled to fight for 
its revision. 


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242 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

Before his return to Bombay this evening, Dr. Ambedkar 
addressed a very largely attended public meeting of Scheduled 
Castes in Poona, at which he said struggle would be continued 
‘to the bitter end.’ 

No fewer than 569 Scheduled Castes volunteers have so 
far been arrested and convicted in connection with the Poona 
Satyagraha. ’ n 

What we ask for is justice and fair-play 

Bombay, Wednesday* * 

The threat that he had many surprises up his sleeves and 
would, when the ‘ right’ time came, unleash deadlier moral 
weapons to storm the citadel of the “Hindu Congress heirs to 
British power ” was made by Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, President 
of the All-India Scheduled Castes Federation, in the course of 
a 60 minute chat with the “Bombay Chronicle” representative 
this evening. 

No mock Show 

Dr. Ambedkar said “I have not yet shown my full teeth. 
Do not imagine we are staging a mock-show at Poona. It is 
only the beginning of a struggle that would grow grimmer 
and fiercer day by day, ultimately rocking the entire country.” 

Giving a sample of the contents of his armoury, he observed, 
“For instance, I and my people might fast unto death!” 

A hundred thousand ‘ Satyagrahis ’ were ready to march 
to Poona, “If only the Premier of Bombay promised necessary 
rations.” The struggle would take an All India shape 
shortly. Poona showed but a glimpse into the “tremendous 
potentialities” of his people. 

Benefactor of Congress 

Saying that he was in a way the benefactor of the Congress, 
Dr. Ambedkar claimed, it lay within his power to nullify the 
existence of that organisation totally. “Could not I and my 
community decide to become Muslim converts ? If I adopt 
Mr. Jinnah’s religion I will not stand to lose in any measure 
and, indeed, he might nominate me as a Muslim member to the 

The Times of India, dated 22nd July 1946 Reprinted — Khairmode, Vol 

.8, Pp. 96-98. 

* The 26th July 1946 


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I AM A GREATER ANYBODY ELSE 243 

Executive Council. I have not taken that drastic step 
because I want to save the Congress from total degeneration,” 
he averred. 

“Why have I not embarked on that very drastic course ?” 
Dr. Ambedkar continued. “It is because I desire to give 
the Congress one more chance. The fight which we have 
inaugurated shows that my party has taken the line of least 
resistance.” 

He would himself participate in the “Satyagraha” at the 
opportune moment. At the present juncture the “General 
Staff’ of the movement consisted only of a small nucleus of 
‘commanders’. As the supreme commanders and the ‘confidence’ 
of thousands of followers, Dr. Ambedkar did not deem it 
necessary for him to court arrest. “But”, he said, “I am not 
afraid of jail life. Only, I do not believe in spectacular and 
unplanned action.” 

Asked what sort of blue-print he expected from the 
Congress, the Doctor answered : “What has the Congress done 
to us constructively in the last twenty years. They are now 
the inheritors of British power and domination. We have a 
right to ask them what they propose to do to us under the 
new Constitution. We do not place any trust in vague promises 
and platitudes. We want concrete proof of Congress sincerity 
to deal with us justly and fairly. Let them descend from the 
dizzy heights of phrase mongering to the the brass-tacks.” 

Plea For “Satisfactory Blue Print” 

“Should the Congress issue a thoroughly satisfactory blue- 
print, would you be prepared to call upon your followers to 
join that body?” Dr. Ambedkar was asked next. 

“Certainly not”, he replied. “We are more radically inclined, 
socially and politically, than the Congress. We represent the 
poorest of the poor. We are sons of the soil, the true masses. 
As such, we cannot contemplate joining a psudo-socialist 
organization as the Congress.” 

However, if the Congress made a square deal to the 
Scheduled Classes, and was ready to launch on a “real” struggle 
for the resurgence of the country, he would unhesitatingly 
offer his co-operation. 


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244 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

Dr. Ambedkar denied he had said in his Poona Press 
Conference that his party had been given any assurances 
from the Muslim League in any form and on any issue. His 
unwillingness to start ‘Satyagraha’ campaigns in the Muslim’ 
Provinces proceeded from the premise that the Muslims had 
done no harm to the Scheduled Classes. 

Votes Won But Seats Lost 

In an allusion to the fate of the Scheduled Class candidates 
in the recent general election, he maintained that there was no 
real trial of strength. His men had won all the votes but lost 
the seats because “Hindu” votes helped to swamp their chances. 

“We are fighting for our liberty, for our very existence,” 
Dr. Ambedkar feelingly observed towards the end. “We, a large 
community, have been denied elementary justice for decades. 
We have been maltreated, our just demands bruised aside 
with contempt. No chord of sympathy has been touched from 
any quarter. What we ask for is justice and fair-play. Let us 
have it or, by God, the consequences would be terrible as none 
could picture .” 1 

Baba Saheb ready to lead 

In an interview to the Associated Press of India, Bhimrao 
Ambedkar said today that the Scheduled Castes Federation 
had been compelled to limit the number of Satyagrahis to very 
small numbers owing to the difficulty of feeding them, “We 
have been receiving telegrams and letters from all parts of 
India, and even from Burma and Malaya - offering to come to 
Poona to join the Satygraha movement. But the real difficulty 
is to provide them with food and accommodation. Owing to the 
rationing difficulties, “It is not possible”. For the small batches 
of men who will from to-day onwards offer Satygraha by defying 
the District Magistrate ban on assembly within the precincts 
of the Assembly - all at Poona the Mushti Fund will cater. 
Apart from this, the men themselves have been requested to 
bring with them four or five days rations. 

Dr. Ambedkar has told the organisers of the movement 
that he would himself be ready to proceed to Poona whenever 
they required him. ” 2 

1 : The Bombay Chronicle, dated 25th July 1946. 

2 : Jai Bheem : August 13, 1946. p.7. 


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I AM A GREATER ANYBODY ELSE 245 

Lucknow starts Satyagraha, 140 arrested 

More than 140 members of the Lucknow branch of the 
All-India Scheduled Castes Federation were arrested to-day 
when they resorted to mass Satyagraha as a protest against 
the Poona Pact. 

Of the 140 Federation members arrested 80 were taken 
under custody near the Council House, and the rest from 
various parts of the city. 

Restrictions under Section 144 Criminal Procedure Code 
were strictly enforced by the police. 

Scheduled Castes to launch passive resistence 
General Secretary’s Announcement 

Members of the Scheduled Castes Federation and their 
followers will register their protest by launching a non-violent 
Satyagraha movement all over India* against what they 
describe as the injustice done to them in the Cabinet Mission’s 
proposal, which ignored the existence of the Scheduled Castes 
as a separate political entity. 

A beginning is to be made at Poona on July 15 during 
the session of the Bombay Legislative Assembly by violation 
of the order of the District Magistrate of Poona, prohibiting 
meetings, demonstrations and processions, along the area of 
half a mile from Council Hall and the Secretariat.” * 1 

General Secretary’s Explanation 

Explaining this decision in the course of a statement 
Mr. P.N. Rajbhoj, General Secretary of the Scheduled 
Castes Federation says ‘the time has arrived to launch a 
passive resistance movement according to the resolution 
passed by the Working Commitee of the All India Scheduled 
Castes Federation on June 4, 1946 in Bombay. There is 
now no alternative for us but to resort to direct action. The 
circumstances require a struggle in order to save the scheduled 
castes from the impending Catastrophe.’ 

Mr. Rajbhoj adds that the British Government and their statement 
committed a breach of trust in ignoring the Scheduled Castes 

* See appendix -V 

l : Jai Bheem : August 13, 1946. 


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246 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

as a separate political entity and rejecting the demands made 
by Dr. Ambedkar and Rao Bahadur N. Sivaraj for political 
safeguards. “The Federation is, therefore, bound” he says, 
“to take direct action against the British Government. They 
cannot also forget the mischievous part which the Congress has 
played in this sordid affair. The Federation is convinced that 
the Congress has misused its position as the majority party 
and the eagerness of the British to placate the Congress forced 
them to deny the Scheduled Castes the status of a separate 
political entity. What has been done by the Cabinate Mission 
to the Scheduled Castes is the direct result of the Congress 
Machination and the Federation is, therefore, bound to take 
action against the Congress as well.” 

The Council of Action appointed in June to devise ways 
of launching a struggle will, Mr. Rajbhoj states, intimate the 
various Provincial components of the nature of the struggle 
each should embark upon. But in the meantime, the Bombay 
Provincial Scheduled Castes Federation has decided, he adds, 
to take the first step in the struggle by breaking the order of 
the District Magistrate Poona on July 15. Mr. Rajbhoj called 
upon all those who wish to participate in the movement 
to enrol themselves at the office of the Bombay Provincial 
Scheduled Castes Federation at Poona, where Mr. B. K. 
Gaikwad, President is in-charge. 5,1 

In another press interview published in ‘Jai Bheem’ dated 
16th September 1946. Dr. Ambedkar pointed out other view 
of which some of the points have resemblance with the views 
in the preview interviews — Editors. 

Babasaheb explains purpose of Satyagraha 

Dr. B. R. Ambedkar demanded in a Press interview that 
the Congress should issue a blue print explaining how they 
were going to dispose of the destiny of the 60 million Scheduled 
Castes of the Country. The purpose of the Satyagraha launched 
by the Scheduled Castes Federation in Poona, he explained, 
was to get answer from the Congress to this question and 
ask the Congress to make an open declaration of their plan 
to protect the interests of the Scheduled Castes in the future 
constitution of India. 


l ; Jai Bheem : August 13, 1946. Pp. 2-3. 


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I AM A GREATER ANYBODY ELSE 247 

Dr. Ambedkar said that the British Cabinet Mission had 
decided rightly or wrongly — the Scheduled Castes considered 
it wrongly and iniquitously — that the heirs to the British 
Power, authority and sovereignty in India were only two — 
the Muslims and the Caste Hindus. The Scheduled Castes 
had no quarrel with the Muslims, for they were prepared to 
make a declaration of their intentions towards the protection 
of the rights of the Scheduled Castes and there would be no 
Satyagraha in such Provinces where the Muslims were in 
power. The Congress, however, so far had been mute over this 
question. In the Constituent Assembly, the Congress would be 
in a majority of three fourths and they would decide the issues 
affecting the rights and interests of the Scheduled Castes by 
their majority vote. The Scheduled Castes were, therefore, 
entitled to get an answer from the Congress to their question. 

Dr. Ambedkar said that if the Scheduled Castes were 
troubling the Bombay Government, it was because it was a 
part and parcel of the Congress machinery. Mr. B. G. Kher 
had suggested in his statement that the present Satyagraha 
was motivated by the sense of frustration on the part of 
the Federation because they had lost in the last elections, 
“Mr. Kher” Dr. Ambedkar said, “was free to attribute any 
motives, high or low, to the movement but he wanted to make 
it clear that so far as he was concerned, he would do nothing 
in politics or public life which he could not justify publicly.” 
It was wrong, however, to say that a sense of frustration had 
been created in the minds of the Scheduled Castes. They had 
scored cent per cent victories though they had lost cent per 
cent seats. 

“There would have been frustration if the Scheduled 
Castes had voted against our candidates, and for the Congress 
nominees. That would have been our ruination. But not over 
four per cent voted in favour of the Congress candidates who 
have been returned on Caste Hindu votes. That was not our 
defeat but triumph. But the fact that we lost these elections 
does not mean that we are going to lose them every time.” 

Turning to the demands of the Scheduled Castes, 
Dr. Ambedkar said, one of them was the abrogation of the Poona 
Pact. “Why should we not agitate against it?” he asked. “No treaty in 
the world is accepted as sacrosanct. The Poona Pact has resulted in 


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248 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

the political disenfranchisement of the very people in whose 
interests it was made. What we are asking for is that the 
deliberate opinion of one community should not be nullified by 
that of another community. In the primary elections, wherever 
held in the country no Congressman won against the Federation 
candidate. But in the general elections the candidates selected 
by the community were rejected and ‘stooges’ and ‘tools’ of 
another party came on top because of Caste “ Hindu Votes.” 
Dr. Ambedkar demanded that any arrangements made for the 
political protection of the community must be “full-proof and 
knave-proof.” 

Dr. Ambedkar appealed to those who had the interests of 
the masses in their heart to join the Scheduled Castes in their 
Satyagraha campaign. Independence might not necessarily 
mean freedom and liberty for all. The power might pass in 
the hands of a small junta who might subject the masses to 
a greater harassment than they had experienced before. “We 
are prepared” Dr. Ambedkar declared, “to carry on the struggle 
whether help comes or not to the bitterest end on moral plane. 
If moral resources are exhausted, then we shall resort to other 
methods. The liberty of a people is greater than the sanctity of 
the means employed to achieve it.” 1 

Dr. Ambedkar exhorted his men to carry on the struggle 
to the bitter end. The Congress Harijan leaders, who always 
reaped the fruit of Ambedkar’s labour and struggle, spoke against 
Ambedkar’s agitation and supported those who always opposed 
Harijans’ demands. It was like barking at one’s own benefactor. 

Gandhi, referring to this Satyagraha, wrote in Harijan 
that there was a parody of Satyagraha in the show staged by 
Ambedkar; and if the means were non-violent the cause was 
certainly vague. 

The Satyagraha movement went on unabated for a 
fortnight, and its pressure forced the Government to 
abrogate their Poona Assembly Session. The Congress 
leaders felt the need for a rapprochement with Ambedkar. 
So S. K. Patil, Chief of the Bombay Provincial Congress 
Committee saw Dr. Ambedkar at the Siddharth College : 
and they both, accompained by N. M. Joshi, met Sardar 
Patel on July 27. The talks continued for an hour or so in 


1 : Jai Bheem : 16th September, 1946. 


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I AM A GREATER ANYBODY ELSE 249 

connection with the representation of the Scheduled Castes 
on the Constituent Assembly and the Poona Satyagraha. It 
seems they could not come to a settlement as on August 8, a 
Scheduled Caste procession led by prominent leaders of the 
Scheduled Castes such as Gaikwad and Rajbhoj marched to 
the meeting of the All-India Congress Committee which was 
holding its session at Wardha. 

Sometime later, Ambedkar wrote to Sardar Patel that he 
considered the country greater than any individual howsoever 
great he might be. He also said that one could be a great 
nationalist without being a Congressman and added that he 
was a greater nationalist than any Congress leader. ’ n 


• • 


l : Keer p. 383 


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17 

LETTER BY MR. ATTLEE TO 
DR. B. R. AMBEDKAR 


Paris, 1st August 1946 

My dear Ambedkar, 

I have carefully considered your letter of July 1st and the 
papers enclosed.® 

I am afraid that I cannot accept the view that the Cabinet 
Mission and the Viceroy were unjust to the Scheduled Castes. 
The reason why they have revised the policy followed at the 
Simla Conference of 1945 is, as you suggest, the result of the 
elections to the Provincial Legislatures, which were held last 
spring. The Mission made a careful study of the voting figures 
and I have examined them myself. We appreciate that there 
are grounds for the view that the present electroral system 
does not do justice to those Scheduled Caste candidates 
who are opposed to Congress. On the other hand, I do not 
find that the figures substantiate what you say about the 
achievements of candidates belonging to your Federation 
at the primary elections.* * While I do not propose to go 
into the matter in detail here the facts are that Primary 
Elections were held in only 43 of the 151 seats reserved for 
the Scheduled Castes. Of these 43 Primary Elections, the 
Scheduled Castes Federation contested 22 and topped the 
poll in only 13. 


@ On 1st July Dr. Ambedkar sent Mr. Attlee a lengthy letter with which 
he enclosed copies of recent correspondence, a memorandum, a speech 
and some other items. Dr. Ambedkar’s letter was in continuation of a 
telegram he had sent to Mr. Attlee on 17th June and covered similar 
ground. For the telegram see page : 224 

* Transfer of Power, Vol. VIII, No. 105, pp. 170-72. 

* In his letter of 1st July Dr. Ambedkar wrote that : ‘That results of the 

Primary Elections — herever they took place in India — proved that the 
candidates put up by the Federation came to the top and those put up 
by the Congress went down to the bottom.’ L/P&J/10/50 ; f 81. 


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LETTER BY DR. B.R. AMBEDKAR 251 

In your letter you make three specific requests.® As 
regards the first, His Majesty’s Government is anxious that 
the Constituent Assembly should have the fullest possible 
freedom of action consistent with the terms of the Cabinet 
Mission’s Statements of May 16th and May 25th. We ourselves 
of course consider the Scheduled Castes to be an important 
minority which should be represented on the Minority Advisory 
Committee. But the declaration for which you ask could not 
be confined to the Scheduled Castes and would have to be 
a statement of all the elements who we consider should be 
included as Minorities in the Advisory Committee. Even though 
it would be only an expression of opinion on the part of His 
Majesty’s Government, it would inevitably be interpreted as 
an attempt to interfere with the Assembly’s freedom and as 
such would be likely to cause serious resentment. In these 
circumstances I cannot believe that such a declaration would 
be of value to the cause of the Scheduled Castes. 

Turning to your second request, I do not find that my speech 
in the House of Commons on March 15th last contained the 
words which you attribute to me. + What I said was “ We are very 
mindful of the rights of minorities and minorities should be able 
to live free from fear. ” This remains the view of His Majesty’s 


@ These were : 

(1) To state openly that His Majesty’s Government holds that the 
Scheduled Castes are a minority within the meaning of paragraph 
20 of the Cabinet Mission’s Statement. 

(2) That His Majesty’s Government will see that satisfactory safeguards 
which will enable them to live free from the fear of the Majority 
are provided for the Scheduled Castes before it agree to sign the 
Treaty for cessation of sovereignty. 

(3) That in the Interim Government the Scheduled Castes should have 
at least two representatives which should be the nominees of the 
Scheduled Castes Federation. 

Ibid., : f 82. 

+ Dr. Ambedkar had noted that the Cabinet Mission had already made the 
point that there must be adequate provision for the protection of the 
minorities. His second request would be met if there were added to 
this statement the words : ‘safeguards which will enable the Scheduled 
Castes to live free from the fear of the Majority. ’ These were words, 
Dr. Ambedkar claimed, which Mr. Attlee himself had used in his speech 
on 15th March. Ibid. 


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252 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

Government, which found expression in paragraph 4 of the 
Cabinet Missions’s Statement of May 25th. I do not consider 
that His Majesty’s Government would be wise to make at 
this stage any further pronouncement elaborating what was 
said in that paragraph. 

Your final request is that in the Interim Government the 
Scheduled Castes should have at least 2 representatives who 
should be nominees of the Scheduled Castes Federation. I 
regret that, I cannot hold out any hope of this being possible. 

I was very glad to see that you had been elected to the 
Constituent Assembly. 


C. R. A. 

• • 


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18 

PROTEST LETTER OF DR. AMBEDKAR 
TO MR. ATTLEE 

“Rajgriha” 
Dadar, Bombay 14 
12th August 1946. 

My dear Attlee, 

Thank you for your letter of the 1st August 1946. I did not 
expect you to find time to reply to my letter of the 1st July 
1946. I am therefore grateful to you for your having found 
time to let me know your views about the points that I had 
raised in my letter. 

2. I am afraid I cannot accept your justification for the 
revision of the policy followed by His Majesty’s Government 
in the Simla Conference of 1945 nor of the Mission’s method 
of treating the Scheduled Castes. I cannot help saying that 
Mr. Alexander’s statement in the House of Commons that 
the majority of the Scheduled Castes are with the Congress 
is an atrocious statement and has no foundation in truth. 
This is not only my view but the view of every Englishman 
in India. If you only consult Sir Edward Benthall who is now 
in England, I am sure he will support me. 

3. With regard to the analysis you have given of the result 
of the achievements of the Federation in the Primary Election, 
all lean say is that you have misunderstood the situation and 
I am afraid no outsider who does not know the significance 
of the facts or the method of the election will be able to 
understand what they mean without proper explanation. The 
main ground of my charge against the Mission is that when 
the other side of the picture were (was) presented by the 
Congress, it was their bounden duty to have called me and 
to have asked for an explanation. This, the Mission did not 
do, which they were in justice bound to do. If I had failed 
to give them satisfactory explanation then they would have 
been justified in the conclusion to which they came. That the 
Mission was grossly misinformed is proved by my election to the 
Constituent Assembly from Bengal. The Cabinet Mission stated 


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254 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

in the House of Commons that my influence was confined 
to Bombay and C.P. How is it then that I was elected from 
Bengal? In connection with my election, I would like to 
impress upon you three facts : One is that I did not merely 
scrape through but I came at the top of the poll beating 
even Mr. Sarat Chandra Bose, the topmost Bengalee leader 
of the Congress Party. Secondly, I am in no way connected 
by communal ties with the Scheduled Castes community of 
Bengal. They are of different castes to which I do not belong. 
In fact the people of my caste do not exist in Bengal at all and 
yet the Bengalee Scheduled Castes supported me, so strongly 
that I was able to come first. Thirdly, though the Scheduled 
Castes in Bengal had been returned on the Congress ticket 
yet they broke the rule of their Party not to vote for anybody 
except for Congressmen and voted for me. Does this prove 
that I have no following in Bengal ? I am sure if the Cabinet 
Mission are honest in their conclusion, they ought to revise 
the erroneous opinion which they have expressed in the House 
of Commons and revise the view and give proper recognition 
to the Federation. 

4. With regard to the status of the Scheduled Castes in the 
Minority Advisory Committee, I am glad to have an assurance 
that the British Cabinet considers the Scheduled Castes to be 
an important minority. I am afraid that I must again repeat 
that unless and untill the Cabinet Mission were to make 
a public declaration, this view will not help the Scheduled 
Castes. I say this because, as you will see, (in) the last letter 
which Maulana Abul Kalam Azad wrote to the Viceroy on 
behalf of the Congress before the negotiations broke down, he 
emphatically challenged the view that the Scheduled Castes 
were a minority. The Scheduled Castes fear that if this view 
is not corrected by the British Cabinet in time, the Scheduled 
Castes’ case may not be considered in the Advisory Committee 
which is bound to be packed by Congressmen. The danger of 
their being relegated to the position of a social group within 
the Hindus as distinguished from a minority, appears to be 
most certain in view of the recent pronouncement of Mr. 
Gandhi who evidently thinks that he can now do anything he 
likes with the Scheduled Castes in view of the fact that the 
British Government have refused to lend them their support. 


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PROTEST LETTER TO MR. ATTLEE 255 

5. In these circumstances, I would press upon you to 
reconsider the matter and make a declaration that the 
Scheduled Castes are an important minority to avert a possible 
danger to their furture position in the new Constitution. 

6. I am sorry to read that you cannot hold out any hope 
of the Schdduled Castes getting two seats in the Interim 
Government. I do not see any justification for this denial. Both 
on the ground of their numbers and also as compared to the 
assurance given at the time of the last Simla Conference of 
1945, they are entitled to better treatment than is proposed to 
be given to the Sikhs and other smaller minorities. I should 
think that the claim made by me was more than justified. 

With kind regards, 


Yours sincerely, 
B.R. AMBEDKAR. 


• • 


Transfer of Power, Vol. VIII, No. 142, Pp. 221-23. 


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19 

WE MAY BE CONQUERED BUT 
WE SHALL NOT CAPITULATE 

Dissatisfaction at “the inadequate representation” given 
to Scheduled Castes in the newly-constituted Interim 
Government at the Centre was expressed by Dr. B.R. 
Ambedkar, who is in Poona for the meeting of the Working 
Committee of the All-India Scheduled Castes Federation.” 1 

“The Interim Government formed by the Viceroy is 
not entitled to claim either obedience or respect from the 
Scheduled Castes, in view of the attitude taken up by the 
Congress with regard to the representation of the Scheduled 
Classes in the Executive Council,” said Dr. B.R. Ambedkar 
when interviewed on the formation of the Interim Government. 

Dr. Ambedkar said : “There seems to be a studied 
conspiracy between the British Government and the Congress 
to reduce the Scheduled Classes to utter nonentity in 
the Executive Council. We think there is justification for 
Pakistan, but there is no justification for the Muslims to 
be given parity with the Caste Hindus, nor any justification 
for restricting the representation of the other minorities to 
four only, when one of them, namely the Scheduled Castes 
number more than 50 percent of the total population of the 
Muslims. The utmost the British Government had accepted 
so far as regards the claims of the Muslims was to give 
them weightage of 33, 1/3 per cent. Nothing has happened 
since then that they should have been granted increased 
representation. If the Muslims are justified to claim equality 
with the Caste Hindus, then there is more justification for 
the Scheduled Classes to claim at least 50 per cent of the 
representation given to the Muslims. 

“In the Simla Conference”, Dr. Ambedkar continued, “it was 
agreed by the Viceroy that they should have at least two seats, 
and the Scheduled Castes, although they pressed for three seats, 
were prepared to accept two for the interim arrangement. The 


l : The Times of India, dated 26 th August, 1946. 


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WE MAY NOT CAPITULATE 257 

Congress was prepared to give two seats to the Scheduled 
Castes at that time. In the light of this it is certainly a matter 
of grave concern for the Scheduled Classes, whether they could 
co-operate with the new Interim Government sponsored by the 
Congress, when they know the Congress has done a glaring 
injustice to them. The Federation thinks that in view of the 
attitude now taken by the Congress in regard to representation 
to Scheduled Classes in the Executive Council this Government 
as constituted by the Viceroy is not entitled to claim either 
obedience or respect from the Scheduled Classes.” 

“More surprising than this”, Dr. Ambedkar said, “is the 
acceptance by Mr. Jagjivan Ram of the offer made to him to 
join the Executive Council. When I sent a wire to the Prime 
Minister protesting against inadequacy of representation to the 
Scheduled Classes in the Executive Council, Mr. Jagjivan Ram 
himself issued a statement to the Press supporting the claim 
made by me on behalf of the Scheduled Classes for increased 
representation in the Executive Council. That, Mr. Jagjivan 
Ram should have accepted the invitation, notwithstanding the 
fact that the Congress has not agreed to increase representation 
to the Scheduled Classes, shows to what extent he can be 
expected to stand out for the rights of the Scheduled Classes. 
The occasion provides a very good test of the sincerity and 
honesty of men like Mr. Jagjivan Ram, who are inside the 
Congress and who are pretending they are representatives of 
the Scheduled Classes and can be depended upon to see that 
the Scheduled Classes are not let down by the Congress.” 

Referring to the movement started by the Federation Dr. 
Ambedkar said that their fight for the achievement of their 
legitimate rights would continue. “We may be conquered, but 
we shall not capitulate,” he declared . 1 


• • 


l : Jai Bheem : dated September 16, 1946. 


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20 

LETTERS BY LORD PETHICK - LAWRENCE 
TO MR. ATTLEE, PRIME MINISTER 

India Office, 
3rd September 1946. 

Secretary of State’s Minute : Serial No. 48/46. 

Prime Minister, 

You asked for my view on Dr. Ambedkar’s letter to you 
of the 12th August, 1946. 

2. As regards his second paragraph you will find an 
analysis of the election results for the Depressed Classes in 
the memorandum which my Private Secretary sent to yours on 
the 26th July with the draft reply to Dr. Ambedkar’s previous 
letter. Shortly, the facts are that in the Primary Elections 
which were contested, Congress polled more votes than 
Dr. Ambedkar’s Organisation, while a still larger proportion 
were polled by Independent candidates who may or may not 
be supporters of Dr. Ambedkar. But apart from this, two- 
thirds of the seats were won by Congress unopposed. The 
figures are, of course, not conclusive but it is not justifiable to 
say that the First Lord’s statement in the Commons has “no 
foundation in truth,” though I think it was rather too positive. 

3. As regards paragraph 3 of Dr. Ambedkar’s letter, it was 
not stated in the House of Commons that his influence was 
confined to Bombay and Central Provinces. He is referring to 
the President of the Board of Trade’s speech, in which the actual 
words used were “ Dr. Ambedkar’s Organization is somewhat 
more local in its character (than the Congress Organization) 
being mainly centred in Bombay and the Central Provinces”. 
I have made enquiries as to what happened in the Bengal 
Election to the Constituent Assembly which is, of course, 
by proportional representation. Dr. Ambedkar got five first 
preference votes. Sarat Chandra Bose also received five first 
preference votes. The quota for election in Bengal was four votes. 
Naturally the Congress would organize their voters to secure 
as nearly as possible four first preferences for each of their 


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LETTERS BY PRIME MINISTER 259 

candidates. The phrase “ top of the poll” has really no meaning 
in a proportional election. No-one denies that Dr. Ambedkar 
has influence among some of the Depressed Classses in Bengal. 
There are twenty five Scheduled Caste members of the Bengal 
Assembly, four of whom were returned as Independents and 
one as a Dr. Ambedkar candidate. I do not know whether all 
the Independents voted for Dr. Ambedkar in the Constituent 
Assembly election or whether he got some Anglo-Indian votes. 

4. With regard to Dr. Ambedkar’s paragraph 4, I am 
convinced that we cannot make a public declaration that we 
regard the Scheduled Castes as a minority who should be 
represented in the Minority Advisory Committee. It is correct, 
of course, that Congress do not regard them as a minority 
for the purpose of separate political representation, whereas 
we have always done so. But we are not in a position to 
secure that Dr. Ambedkar’s organization is represented on 
the Minorities Advisory Committee. 

5. I do not think it is really essential to send a reply to 
Dr. Ambedkar but should it seem to you more courteous to 
do so I attach a short draft.* In case you wish to see them, 
I attach also extracts @ from the speeches by the First Lord 
and the President of the Board of Trade in the Commons’ 
Debate. My own speech contained a passage similar to the 
letter but rather shorter. 


PETHICK-LAWRENCE. 1 


* Not printed. 

@ Not printed. 

V The Transfer of Power, Vol. VIII, No. VIII, No. 250, Pp. 441-412. 


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260 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

ii 

India Office, 9th September 1946 
Secretary of State’s Minute : Serial No. 51/46 
Prime Minister, 

Your personal minute No. M. 296/46 of September 4th, @ 
regarding the representation of the Scheduled Castes on the 
Advisory Committee of the Constituent Assembly. 

2. It certainly was the Mission’s intention that the Advisory 
Committee should contain representation of the Scheduled 
Castes and I informed Dr. Ambedkar of this by a letter # I 
wrote to him in India. In the third paragraph of your reply 
to him of 1st August you explained to Dr. Ambedkar that, 
while H.M.G. themselves consider the Scheduled Castes 
an important minority which should be represented on the 
Minority Advisory Committee, they could not accede to his 
request for a public declaration to this effect, since any such 
declaration : 

(a) would also have to specify all the other elements which 
H.M.G consider should be included as minorities in the 
Advisory Committee; and 

(b) would be liable to be interpreted as an attempt to 
interfere with the Constituent Assembly’s freedom of 
action. 

3. The position, however, is that we have left the composition 
of the Advisory Committee to be decided by the Constituent 
Assembly and we cannot now prescribe it ourselves. I do 
not think we can be accused of misleading the House as the 
position was clearly stated in the President of the Board of 
Trade’s speech on 18th July of which the relevant passage 
was attached to my Minute to you of 3rd September.* 

Transfer of Power, Vol. VIII, No. 288, Pp. 466-68. 

@No. 253. (Refers to S. No. in The Transfer of Power. — Ed. 

#No.399. Vol. VII (See P. 502.-Ed.). 

^0.250. (See p. 515. — Ed.). 


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LETTERS BY PRIME MINISTER 261 

4. The controversy on the question whether the Scheduled 
Castes constitute a minority for the purpose of separate 
political representation or whether they should be classed 
with the Hindus has of course a long history. Gandhi has 
spent a large part of his life in propagating the latter view. 
But when I said, in paragraph 4 of my minute of September 
3rd, that Congress did not regard the Scheduled Castes as a 
minority for the purpose of separate political representation, 
I had particularly in mind the passage in Azad’s letter to the 
Viceroy of June 25th* (Some-weeks after our Statement of May 
16th) to which Dr. Ambedkar has referred in both his letters 
@ to you. In this Azad said that Congress “repudiated the 
view that the Scheduled Castes are a minority and considered 
them as integral parts of Hindu society” (second paragraph on 
page 23 of Cmd. 6861). This statement had reference to the 
Viceroy’s assurance to Mr. Jinnah # that he would consult the 
main parties before filling any vacancy among the seats in the 
Interim Government allotted to representatives of minorities. 
It was not altogether unnatural that Congress should regard 
the Scheduled Castes as their own responsibility and object 
to the Muslim League having a say in the appointment of a 
Scheduled Caste representative. 

5. There is no positive reason to think that Congress will 
not wish to include in the Advisory Committee Scheduled Caste 
representatives in adequate numbers. They will be concerned 
to escape criticism both in India and abroad; and they are 
most anxious to win over to their own ranks, or at least to 
conciliate, as large a proportion as possible of the Scheduled 
Castes, if only to prevent them from allying themselves with 
the Muslim League. The Committee is to deal with the rights 
of citizens as well as with those of minorities, so that inclusion 
of Scheduled Castes representatives need not prejudice the 
question whether they are or are not a minority. On the other 
hand, there is no guarantee that Dr. Ambedkar or any other 
member of the Scheduled Castes who opposes Congress will 
secure a place on the Committee. 

* Vol. VII. No. 603. (Transfer of Power). 

@ See footnotes to No. 105 and No. 142. (Transfer of Power) 

# Vol. VII. No. 573. (Transfer of Power). 


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262 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

6. I still feel that we should not volunteer a pronouncement 
in response to Dr. Ambedkar’s request for a public declaration 
that the Scheduled Castes are a minority within the meaning 
of paragraph 20 of the Mission’s Statement of May 16th. To do 
so would almost certainly arouse a controversy with Gandhi 
which might result in Congress opposing their inclusion as 
a demonstration. Even if we did not say that the Scheduled 
Castes are a minority but only that they should be included 
on the Committee, our statement would arouse requests for a 
similar statement in favour of the Anglo-Indians and others, 
and would be interpreted as interference with the Constituent 
Assembly, which is what we are most anxious to avoid. There 
is no possibility that such a declaration would influence 
Congress to give the Scheduled Castes better treatment in 
the Advisory Committee than they would otherwise do, nor 
would it help Dr. Ambedkar, since it would refer simply to 
the Scheduled Castes, making no distinction between those 
who favour Congress and those who do not.* 

PETHICK-LAWRENCE 

• • 


* 


Mr. Attlee noted on this Minute : ‘No further action.’ Attlee Papers, 
University College, Oxford. 


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21 

THE CABINET MISSION AND THE 
UNTOUCHABLES 

How the Cabinet Mission have Ignored the 
Untouchables ? 

“Karachi, October 14, 1946, 

Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, Scheduled Castes Leader and Former 
Member of the Viceroy’s Executive Council, arrived in Karachi 
by air from Bombay on his way to London today. 

Dr. Ambedkar said that he was proceeding on a political 
mission and would meet Mr. C. R. Atlee, Prime Minister, and 
Mr. Churchill and discuss Indian constitutional matters with 
them. He declined to be drawn into any further discussion or 
to clarify the details of his mission — A.P.I.” 1 

Dr. B. R. Ambedkar prepared and carried following 
Memorandum for circulation — Editors. 

“The Cabinet Mission in their Statement of 10th May set 
out their Interim and Long-term proposals for the solution of 
the political deadlock in India. The most galling and astounding 
feature of their proposals is their refusal to recognise the 
Untouchables as a separate and distinct element in the 
national life of India. The Mission has so completely ignored 
the Untouchables that not even once have they mentioned them 
in their long statement. To what extent the Cabinet Mission 
has gone in ignoring the Untouchables will be apparent from 
the following: — 

(i) The Untouchables have not been given the right to 
nominate their representatives in the Cenral Executive 
as have been done in the case of the Sikhs and the 
Muslims. In the present Interim Government they 
have got two representatives of the Scheduled Castes 
neither of them owe any allegiance or obligation to the 
Scheduled Castes. One is nominated by the Congress 
and the other is nominated by the Muslim League. 

(ii) In the interim Government, the Untouchables have not been 
given a fixed quota of representation as was done in the 
case of the Muslims. At the Simla Conference of 1945 it was 


1 : The Times of India, dated 15th October 1946. 


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264 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

agreed that Scheduled Castes should have at least two 
members in a Cabinet of 14. The reason for a change 
of front between 1945 and 1946 is not known. 

(iii) They have not been given the right to separate 
representation in the Constituent Assembly. How the 
Cabinet Mission’s decision constitutes a departure from 
established policy of H.M.G. 

2. The decision of the Cabinet Mission has not only done 
a grave wrong to the Untouchables but it has registered a 
serious departure from the principles which have guided 
H.M.G. in its policy regarding Indian politics and regarding 
the position of the Untouchables. 

(i) Before 1920, the Constitutional changes in the 
Government of India were made by the British 
Government on their own authority and in accordance 
with their own wishes.. It was for the first time, that 
in 1920 that the British Government decided to frame 
the Constitution of India in consultation with Indians. 
Accordingly, a Round Table Conference was called to 
which Indians were invited. Among the Indians, there 
were representatives of the Untouchables who were 
invited separately and independently of the Congress 
or of any other political party. 

(ii) Mr. Gandhi, the Congress representative, at the Round 
Table Conference fought against the recognition of the 
Untouchables as a separate element in the national 
life of India and contended that they were part of the 
Hindus and were therefore not entitled to separate 
representation. The British Government over-ruled 
Mr. Gandhi and by their Award recognised that the 
Untouchables were a separate and distinct element in 
the national life of India and were therefore entitled 
to the same safeguards as the other minorities of India 
such as the Muslims, Indian Christians etc. 

(iii) The British Government adhered to this principle in 
the Simla Conference which was held in June 1945. 
Among the Indians invited to that Conference, there 
was a representative of the Untouchables who again was 
invited separately and independently of the Congress 
or any other political party. 


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THE CABINET UNTOUCHABLES 265 

(iv) It may be said that in the Constituent Assembly 
which formed part of the Cripps proposals of 1942, 
there was no provision for separate representation 
of the Untouchables and that therefore, the present 
proposals of the Cabinet Mission cannot be said 
to mark a departure. The answer is that they do. 
In the Cripps Proposals of 1942, it is not that 
the Untouchables alone were not given separate 
representation. The fact is that no minority 
community was given separate representation in 
the Constituent Assembly. But in the Constitution 
of the Constituent Assembly of the Cabinet Mission, 
the Muslims and the Sikhs have been given 
separate recognition and separate representation 
which is denied to the Untouchables. It is this 
discrimination which constitutes the wrong of which 
the Untouchables are complaining. 

3. The inequity of the proposals of the Cabinet Mission 
thus lies in the fact that it departs from the policy of 
recognising the Untouchables as a separate element in 
the national life of India and discriminates them by not 
recognising them while recognizing the Muslims and Sikhs. 

How the Cabinet Mission’s decision abrogates the 
pledges given by H.M.G to the Untouchables ? 

4. The non-recognition of the Untouchables as a separate 
element by the Cabinet Mission is contrary to the pledges 
given to them by and on behalf of the British Government. 
The following are some of the pledges worth mentioning. 

(i) 

“Nor must we forget the essential necessity in the interests 
of Indian unity, of the inclusion of the Indian States in any 
Constitutional Schemes. 

I need refer only two of them — the great Muslim minority 
and the Scheduled Castes — there are the guarantees that 
have been given to the minorities in the past ; the fact that 
their position must be safeguarded, and that those guarantees 
must be honoured.” 


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266 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

— Extract from the speech made hy Lord Linlithgow, at 
the Orient Club, Bombay on January 10, 1940. 

(ii) 

“These are two main points which have emerged. On 
these two points, His Majesty’s Government now desire me 
to make their position clear. The first is as to the position 
of the minorities in relation to any future Constitutional 

Scheme It goes without saying that they (H. M. 

Government) could not contemplate the transfer of their 
present responsibilities for the peace and welfare of India to 
any system of Government whose authority is directly denied 
by large and powerful elements in India’s national life. Nor 
could they be parties to the coercion of such elements into 
submission to such a Government.” 

— Extract from the Statements by Lord Linlithgow on 
8th August 1940. 


(iii) 

“Congress leaders have built up a remarkable 

organization, the most efficient political machine in India... 
if only they had succeeded. If the Congress could in fact 
speak, as it professes to speak, for all the main elements in 
India’s national life, then however advanced their demands, 
our problem would have been in many respect far easier than 
it is today. It is true that they are numerically the largest 
single party in British India, but their claim in virtue of that 
fact to speak for India is utterly denied by very important 
elements in India’s complex national life. These others assert 
their right to be regarded not as mere numerical minorities 
but as separate constituent factors in any future Indian 
policy. The foremost among these elements stands the great 
Muslim community. They will have nothing to do with a 
Constitution framed by a Constituent Assembly elected by a 
majority vote in geographical constituencies. They claim the 
right in any constitutional discussions to be regarded as an 
entity against the operations of a mere numerical majority. 
The same applies to the great body what are known as the 


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THE CABINET UNTOUCHABLES 267 

Scheduled Castes who feel, in spite of Mr. Gandhi’s earnest 
endeavours on their behalf, that as a community, they stand 
outside the main body of the Hindu community which is 
represented by the Congress.” 

— Extract from the speech by the Rt. Hon’ble 
Mr. L.S. Amery, Secretary of State for India, 
in the House of Commons on August 14, 1940. 

(iv) 

“Without recapitulating all these reasons in detail, I should 
remind you that His Majesty’s Government at that time made 
it clear: — 

(a) That, their offer of unqualified freedom after the 
hostilities was made conditional upon the framing of 
a Constitution agreed by the main elements of India’s 
national life and the negotiation of the necessary treaty 
arrangements with His Majesty’s Government; 

(b) That, it is impossible during the period of hostilities 
to bring about any change in the Constitution by 
which means alone a “National Government” such as 
you suggest could be made responsible to the Central 
Assembly. 

The object of these conditions was to ensure the fulfilment 
of their duty to safeguard the interest of the racial and 
religious minorities, of the Depressed Classes and their treaty 
obligations to the Indian states.” 

— Extract from the letter by Lord Wavell to Mr. Gandhi, 

dated 15th August, 1944. 

5. The Cabinet Mission’s proposal not to give separate 
representation to the Untouchables is not the result of their 
individual judgement arrived at on an honest examination of the 
relevant facts. On the other hand, what the Mission has done 
is to pamper to the prejudices of Mr. Gandhi. Mr. Gandhi is 
vehemently opposed to the recognition of the Untouchables as a 
separate element in the national life of India. He opposed their 


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268 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

recognition at the Round Table Conference. When he found 
that notwithstanding his opposition they were recognized as 
a separate element by the Communal Award of Mr. Ramsay 
Macdonald he threatened to fast unto death if the separate 
recognition of the Untouchables was not withdrawn. Again 
in 1945 at the First Simla Conference Mr. Gandhi raised his 
opposition when he found that H.M.G. had given separate 
recognition of the Untouchables. The Cabinet Mission were 
anxious to make a success of their proposals. That was not 
possible unless they could secure the consent of Mr. Gandhi. 
Mr. Gandhi demanded his price and mission gave it. That 
price was the sacrifice of the separate political existence of 
the Untouchables. Indeed one can go further and say that 
the proposals of the Cabinet Mission, so far as the minorities 
are concerned, are nothing but the reproduction of Mr. 
Gandhi’s formula which he resounded at the Second Round 
Table Conference. Mr. Gandhi said that he would recognise 
only three communities for political purposes (1) Hindus, 
(2) Muslims and (3) Sikhs. The Mission’s formula is a mere 
copy of Mr. Gandhi’s formula. There is no other explanation. 

Ill 

Grounds urged by the Cabinet Mission in justification 
of its decision. 

6. For justifying their decision not to recognise the 
Untouchables as a separate element the Cabinet Mission 
has relied upon the results of the elections to the Provincial 
Legislative Assemblies which took place in February 1948. In 
the course of the debate in Parliament on the Cabinet Mission’s 
proposals which took place on 18th July 1946, the members 
of the Mission have tried to make out the following points : — 

(i) That, in the election, the Congress captured all seats 
reserved for the Untouchables; that therefore the 
Congress represented the Untouchables. That being 
the case there was no justification for giving separate 
representation to the Untouchables. 

(ii) That, the following of the All-India Scheduled Castes 
Federation and my own was confined only to Bombay 
and Central Provinces. 


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THE CABINET UNTOUCHABLES 269 

Futility of the grounds 

7. These are monstrous propositions and will not stand 
close an honest scrutiny. The Cabinet Mission, to start with 
committed a great mistake in adopting the results of the 
election as a basis for assessing the representative character 
of the Congress. In doing so, the Mission failed to take into 
account the following circumstances : — 

(i) The Hindu electorate was throughout the war intensely 
anti- British and although it did war work it did not 
do it willingly. The Congress Party which was anti- 
British and had non-co-operated with the war effort 
was a hot favourite of the Hindu electorate. The other 
parties particularly the Scheduled Castes suffered in 
the election because they were pro-British and had co- 
operated in the war effort. 

(ii) Just before the date fixed for election, the Viceroy and 
the Commander-in-Chief staged the trial of the I.N.A. 
men. The Congress at once took up the cause of the 
I.N.A. men and made it an election issue. The trial 
was the principal factor which enhanced the influence 
of the Congress which was on the wane. 

(iii) The issue over which the election was fought was 
Independence and Quit India. The nature of the future 
Constitution of India was never the issue. If it had 
been the issue the Congress would never have got the 
majority it did. 

(iv) The Cabinet Mission did not take into account the open 
hostility shown by the Returning Officers and the Polling 
Officers — all of whom were Caste Hindus — against 
the Scheduled Caste candidates who were opposing 
the Congress. They went to the length of rejecting 
their nomination papers and refusing to issue ballot 
papers. The Cabinet Mission did not take into account 
the degree of terrorism and intimidation to which the 
Untouchable voters were subjected by the Caste Hindus 
on the ground that they were not prepared to vote for 
the Congress candidates. In the Agra City 40 houses 
of the Untouchables were burnt down. In Bombay 
one man from the Untouchable was murdered and in 


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270 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

the moffusil Untouchable voters in hundreds of villages 
were not allowed to go to the Polling stations. In Nagpur 
a Police Officer became so much of a partisan of the 
Congress that he fired without the permission of the 
Magistrate on a crowd of Untouchable voters just to 
frightern them away. There were innumerable such 
cases all over India. 

8. If the Cabinet Mission had taken into account these 
circumstances they would have realized that the success of 
the Congress at the elections was due to purely advantageous 
circumstances. The results of the elections held under such 
circumstances should not have been taken as a justification 
for not giving separate representation to the Untouchables in 
the Constituent Assembly. 

How the Mission adopted a false criterion for its 
decision. 

9. The criterion adopted by the Mission to decide whether 
the Congress did or did not represent the Untouchables was 
how many seats reserved for Untouchables were won by the 
Congress in the Final Election. This criterion was a false 
criterion because the results of the final elections are beyond 
the control of the Untouchables. Under the Poona Pact the 
final elections are determined by the Hindu votes. The true 
criterion which the Mission should have adopted was to find 
out how the Untouchables voted, how many votes were cast in 
favour of the Congress and how many against the Congress. 
This can be judged from the results of the Primary elections 
only and not from the results of the Final elections. For in 
the Primary election only the Untouchables vote. If the results 
of the Primary elections are taken as a basis, the decision 
of the Cabinet Mission, would be found to be absurd and 
contrary to facts. For only 28 per cent of the votes polled in 
the Primary elections were cast in favour of the Congress and 
72 per cent against it. 

10. It is said if the Untouchables felt that they were not 
in the Congress they should have had a Primary election for 
every one of the 151 seats reserved for them. As a matter 
of fact, there were Primary elections for 43 seats only all 
throughout India. Why did the Untouchables not stage a 
Primary election for the rest of the 108 seats ? 


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THE CABINET UNTOUCHABLES 271 

The argument is absurd for the following reasons : — 

(i) Primary election is not obligatory. It becomes obligatory 
only when there are more than four candidates 
contesting one seat. It is not realized that anyone who 
stands for Primary election must also face the necessity 
of having to stand for Final election. The inability 
of the Untouchables to bear the expense of double 
election make it very difficult to induce members of the 
Untouchable communities to stand for Primary election. 
The fact that there have been Primary elections only 
for 43 seats cannot be made the basis for the inference 
that the Untouchables do not claim to be separate from 
the Congress. 

(ii) It is the Congress who must be asked as to why it 
did not put up 4 candidates in every consituency in 
the Primary elections. For if the Congress claims to 
represent the Untouchables, it should have put up 
more than 4 candidates on Congress ticket in every 
constituency and brought about Primary elections 
in each of the 151 constituencies and ousted every 
other party from coming into the Final election. The 
Congress did not do this. On the other hand, even in 
the 43 Primary elections, the Congress put up only one 
candidate in each constituency on the off-chance of his 
coming within the first 4 and then getting him returned 
in the Final Election with the Hindu votes. This shows 
that the Congress knew that the Untouchables had no 
confidence in the Congress. 

(iii) It is only in 1937 that the Untouchables for the first 
time got their right to vote. It is only after 1937 
that the Untouchables started organizing themselves 
for conducting elections. From the mere fact that 
Scheduled Castes Federation was outmatched by the 
Congress in the elections, it is wrong to conclude that 
the Untouchables are with the Congress. The Cabinet 
Mission ought to have made allowance from the 
unequal strengh of the Congress and the Scheduled 
Castes Federation in fighting elections drawing any 
conclusions adverse to the Federation from the results 
of the elections. 


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272 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

Futility of the grounds urged by the Mission in 
justification of their decision 

11. The members of the Cabinet Mission argued that 
Dr. Ambedkar’s following was confined to the Scheduled Castes 
in the Bombay Presidency and the Central Provinces only. 
There is no foundation for this statement. The Scheduled 
Castes Federation is functioning in other Provinces as well 
and it has won therein notable electoral successes, as great 
as, if not greater than, in Bombay and the Central Provinces. 
In making this statement the Mission has failed to take into 
account the single victory Dr. Ambedkar obtained in the 
election to the Constituent Assembly. He stood as a candidate 
from the Bengal Provincial Legislative Assembly. He topped 
the poll as the general seats were concerned, beating even 
Mr. Sarat Chandra Bose the Leader of the Congress Party. 
If Dr. Ambedkar has no influence outside Bombay and 
Central Provinces how did he get elected from Bengal? It 
must be further remembered that there are 30 seats for the 
Scheduled Castes in the Bengal Provincial Assembly. Out of 
the 80 as many as 28 were elected on the Congress ticket. 
Of the two who belonged to his party one fell ill on the day 
of the election. Notwithstanding this Dr. Ambedkar topped 
the poll. This could not have happened unless the Scheduled 
Caste members of Bengal elected on the Congress ticket had 
voted for him. It must also be remembered that Scheduled 
Castes in Bengal do not belong to the community to which 
Dr. Ambedkar belongs. This shows that even those Scheduled 
Caste members who belong to the Congress and who do not 
belong to his community regard him as the leader of the 
Scheduled Castes. This completely disproves the statement 
made by the members of the mission. 

12. The member of the Cabinet Mission argued that 
for the sake of maintaining uniformity in the composition 
of the constituent Assembly they had to adopt in the case 
of the Untouchables the result of the Final elections as 
they had done in the case of the other communities. The 
argument is a form of special pleading which has no force. 
The mission knew the final election of the Muslims, the 
Indian Christians and the Sikhs was by separate electorates. 


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THE CABINET UNTOUCHABLES 273 

The Final election of the Scheduled Castes was not by 
separate electorates. Consequently, for the sake of uniformity 
the Mission should have taken the results of the Primary 
elections for giving representation to the Untouchables in 
the Constituent Assembly. The Mission was bound to do so 
because it was admitted by Sir Strafford Cripps in the debate 
that the system of election of the Untouchables as determined 
by the Poona Pact was iniquitious. Why did the Mission then 
adopt it as a basis for its decision ? 

IV 

What could be done to save the Untouchables from 
impending peril 

13. The Cabinet Mission has by the Constitution of the 
Constituent Assembly left the Untouchables entirely at the 
mercy of the Caste Hindus who have an absolute majority 
in it. The Untouchables want the restoration of separate 
electorates given to them by the Communal Award by H.M.G. 
and the abrogation of the Poona Pact which was forced upon 
them by coercion practised by Mr. Gandhi through his fast 
unto death. This, the Hindus are bound to oppose. In reply 
to the criticism that they have been left to the mercy of the 
Hindu majority the Cabinet Mission has been advertising 
their proposal for an Advisory Committee on Minorities as a 
means of safeguarding minority rights. Anyone who examines 
the powers and Constitution of the Advisory Committee will 
know that the body is worse than useless. 

(i) In its composition it is only a pale reflection of the 
Constituent Assembly. The Hindus will dominate it in 
the same way as they do the Constituent Assembly; 

(ii) The fact that there will be a certain number of 
Untouchables in the Constituent Assembly as well as in 
the Advisory Committee elected by the goodwill of the 
Congress can be of no help to them for the Untouchable 
members of the Assembly and of the Committee are 
but the creatures of the Hindus; 

(iii) The decisions on questions relating to the minority 
protection by the Advisory Committee are left to the 
bare majority which means that the decision will be 
taken by the Caste Hindus and imposed upon the 
minorities. 


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274 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

(iv) The decision of the Advisory Committee even if they 
are favourable are no more than recommendations. 
They are not binding on the Constituent Assembly. 

14. The device of an Advisory Committee is thus a hoax 
if not a humbug and cannot be relied upon to counteract 
the mischief the Hindu majority may do to the cause of 
the minorities. The Hindu majority has singled out the 
Untouchables for their malicious intention and seems to be 
determined to deprive them of the right to claim the political 
safeguards which are due to a majority. This is apparent from 
the letter addressed by the Congress on 25th June 1946 (Item 
21 in Cmd. 6861). In that letter the Congress has taken the 
stand that the Untouchables are not a minority. This is an 
astounding proposition. For according to Mr. Gandhi’s own 
admission in his weekly called the Harijan of 21st October 
1939 the Untouchables were the only real minority in India, 
The Congress has thus taken a complete somersault. The 
stand now taken by the Congress is contrary to the underlying 
principles of the Government of India Act, 1935, which 
recognizes them a minority. What mischief is contemplated by 
this somersault it is not possible to know. If the Congress does 
not regard the Untouchables to be a minority it is possible 
that the Constituent Assembly might refuse to give them the 
same safeguards which it might agree to give to the other 
minorities. The Advisory Committee cannot therefore save 
the Untouchables from peril. 

15. Parliament must, therefore, intervene to see that 
the position of the Untouchables is not jeopardized. This 
Parliament must do, not merely because of the pledges it has 
given but also because of the fact that the discussions of the 
Constituent Assembly are not subject to ratification. 

16. What can Parliament do ? The Untouchables would 
like that the wrong done to them in regard to the Interim 
Government be-redressed. They would like their quota 
fixed. They would like to be given the right to nominate 
their representatives to the Executive Council. These 
rights are not new claims. They are vested rights of the 
Untouchables which were recognized as late as the Simla 
Conference of 1945. They realize that this wrong it may be 
difficult to redress now. But if circumstances change and the 


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Government is reconstituted they expect Parliament to press 
H.M.G. to right this wrong. 

17. Much can be done now to save the Untouchables 
from the injury which the Constituent Assembly, dominated 
by the Caste Hindus who are determined to deprive the 
Untouchables of their political safeguards may do. To prevent 
this mischief the following steps could be taken : — 

I. Press H.M.G. to make a declaration that they regard 
the Untouchables as a minority. 

This is essential in view of the stand taken by the 
Congress in its letter of the 25th June 1946 (Item 21 in 
Cmd. 6861). This is all the more necessary because the 
Viceroy in his reply to the Congress dated 27th June 1946 
(Item 38 in Cmd. 6861) has avoided giving a specific denial 
to the contention of the Congress that the Untouchables are 
not a minority. If the Government is not pressed to make a 
declaration now the Untouchables will suffer in two ways : — 

(a) The Constituent Assembly dominated by the Hindus 
will deny them the rights of the minority. 

(b) H.M.G. will be free not to come to their rescue on 
the ground that they were not committed to regard the 
Untouchables as a minority. 

II. Press for a declaration as to whether H.M.G. will 
institute machinery, if so of what sort, to examine whether 
the safeguards for minorities framed by the Constituent 
Assembly are adequate and real. 

(a) In their Supplementary Statement dated 25th May 
1946 (Cmd. 6835) the Cabinet Mission say : — 

“When the Constituent Assembly has completed its 
labours, His Majesty’s Government will recommend to 
Parliament such action as may be necessary for the cessasion 
of sovereignty to the Indian People, subject only of two matters 
which are mentioned in the statement and which we believe, 
are not controversial, namely : adequate provision for the 
protection of the minorities (Paragraph 20 of the statement) 
and willingness to conclude a treaty with H.M.G. to cover 
matters arising out of the transfer of power (Paragraph 22 
of the statement)”. 


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276 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

The idea behind this paragraph is not quite clear. It is 
necessary to press H.M.G. to clarify their intention. 

(b) If the words ‘subject to’ mean that H.M.G. reserve 
to themselves the right to examine the safeguards for 
the minorities framed by the Constituent Assembly in 
order to find out whether they are adequate and real it 
is necccessary to press H.M.G. to state what machinery 
they propose to institute for such an inquiry. The 
machinery of a Joint Parliamentary Committee with 
power to examine witnesses from minorities communities 
would be most appropriate. There is a precedent for it. 
A Joint Parliamentary Committee was appointed when 
the Government of India Act of 1935 was on the anvil. 
There would be nothing wrong in following the precedent 
in dealing with the report of the Constituent Assembly. 

III. Press H.M.G. to declare if they will insist upon the 
Constitution framed by the Constituent Assembly containing 
clause circumscribing the power of the future Indian Legislature 
to do away with minority safeguard by bare majority. 

(a) Neither the first Statement of the Cabinet Mission 
of May 16,1946 nor the Supplementary Statement of 
May 25,1946 deal with the question of providing against 
the Legislature of a Free India altering the Constitution 
and abrogating the clauses dealing with the protection 
of minorities. There is no use in Parliament introducing 
safeguards if these safeguards can be done away with 
by the Indian Legislature. The only safeguards against 
such action is to see that the Constitution framed by the 
Constituent Assembly contains clauses putting limitations 
on the Constituent powers of the Indian Legislature and 
prescribing conditions precedent to be fulfilled before 
alterations in minority safeguards are made. Such 
provisions exist in the Constitution of U.S.A. and Australia. 

(b) Though this is a matter of vital importance to the 
minorities the Cabinet Mission has given no thought to 
the subject. It is necessary to press H.M.G. as to what 
they have to say on this question. 

DR.B.R. AMBEDKAR” 1 

• • 


l : Khairmode, Vol. 8, Pp. 124-139. 


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22 

DR. AMBEDKAR’S MEMORANDUM 

London, October 25 

“Dr. B.R. Ambedkar sent letters last night to the British 
Prime Minister, the Secretary of State for India, Mr. Winston 
Churchill and other statesmen. 

The letters requested interviews so that Dr. Ambedkar 
may state his case. 

Others with whom he has communicated include Lord 
Templewood (formerly Sir Samuel Hoare), Lord Scarborough 
(formerly Sir Roger Lumley), Lord Linlithgow and Lord 
Salisbury. 

Dr. Ambedkar last night told Reuter’s political correspondent, 
“I have written also to various other friends who took part in 
the Round Table Conferences and know the conditions of the 
Scheduled Castes. I have prepared a memorandum analysing 
the figures for the primary elections with a view to showing 
that it is quite untrue to say that the Congress represents 
the Scheduled Castes.” 

The memorandum is being printed and copies will be given 
to the various statesmen approached. — Reuter.” 1 


• • 


1 : The Times of India, dated 26th October, 1946. 


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23 

DEMAND FOR “POLITICAL INDEPENDENCE” 

London, November 1 (Reuter) 

There is a possibility of the Scheduled Castes of India 
aligning themselves with the Muslim community if they 
do not receive separate representation in the new Indian 
Government, according to Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, leader of the 
Scheduled Castes, now in London. 

Dr. B. R. Ambedkar was commenting to Reuter to-day 
upon a report from Toronto that Mr. Ameen Tareen, an 
Indian student at the Toronto University and a former Lahore 
journalist, stating that Dr. Ambedkar had advised his people 
to embrace Islam if they failed to obtain satisfaction. “I have 
not given advice to that effect,” Dr. Ambedkar said. “But that 
situation may arise. Many of my people in India are seriously 
considering that question. We hope that the Congress and 
Mr. Gandhi will see light and agree to give the Untouchables 
political independence from the Hindus. It is a great pity that 
Mr. Gandhi had not been able to make the distinction. 

“Personally, I feel that if Mr. Gandhi and the Congress 
give them political independence, there will be greater unity, 
“Co-operation and goodwill between the Hindus and the 
Untouchables,” but if Mr. Gandhi and the Congress seek to 
bring the “Untouchables” under the political dominance of 
the Hindus and to make them political slaves of the Hindus, 
the ‘Untouchables’ would rebel and would endeavour to seek 
their salvation by joining some other community.” 1 

• • 


1 : The Bombay Chronicle, dated 2nd November 1946. 


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24 

CHURCHILL - AMBEDKAR TALKS 

Dr. B.R. Ambedkar met Mr. Churchill and apprised him 
of the miserable conditions of the Untouchables in India. The 
press report of the talk is as under : Editors. 

LONDON, November 4 : Dr. Ambedkar, the Scheduled 
Castes leader, said today, that he had expressed his views 
for separate representation of the Depressed Classes in the 
Provincial Government to Mr. Winston Churchill, leader of 
the British Conservative Party. 

The meeting, he said, took place at Mr. Churchill’s 
country home at Westerham, Kent, where he had lunch and 
spent the best part of the day with the war leader.’ I found 
Mr. Churchill very sympathetic, ‘he said.’ 1 


• • 


The Times of India, Wednesday, dated 6th November 1946, P. 5 
Reprinted : Khairmode, Vol. 8, Pp. 139. 


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25 

RESTORE THE SEPARATE ELECTORATES 

During his stay at London Dr. B. R. Ambedkar addressed 
a meeting of the Conservative Indian Committee in the House 
of Commons which was attended by some Labour and Liberal 
MP’s also on November 5th, 1946. Following is the report: 
Editors. 

“LONDON : November 6 (U.P.I.): Dr. B.R. Ambedkar 
addressed yesterday a meeting of the Conservative Indian 
Committee in the House of Commons which was attented 
by some Labour and Liberal M Ps also. The press was not 
allowed and the talk which lasted nearly an hour was more 
or less off the record. 

It is understood, however, that Dr. Ambedkar expressed 
his profound disappointment at the Cabinet Mission’s work. 
He explained to the members present, the memorandum which 
was presented by him to Mr. Churchill and Lord Pethick- 
Lawarence which attempts to show that the Congress does 
not represent the Untouchables. He demanded the abrogation 
of the Poona Pact* signed by himself and Mahatma Gandhi 
and demanded the restoration of Separate Electorates as 
envisaged in Mr. Mac Donald’s Communal Award. 

Dr. Ambedkar has, however, little hopes of succeeding in 
his mission except in Mr. Churchill being returned to power. 

The Labour Members questioned him closely which 
indicated that the party in “power is in no mood of raking 
up the whole communal issue.” He was told, it is learnt, to 
adjust himself to the changed situation and try his luck in 
the Constituent Assembly.” * 1 

• • 


* See appendix VI. 

1 : Bombay Chronicle, dated 7th November 1946. Reprinted : Khairmode, 
Vol. 8 Pp. 140-141. 


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26 

DR. AMBEDKAR FEELS BRITISH WILL DO JUSTICE 

London, November 7 (Reuter) 

The belief that the British Government, if the occasion 
arose, would not hesitate to rectify any wrongs done to the 
Scheduled Castes, was expressed to Fraser Wighton, Reuter’s 
Political Correspondent, in an interview tonight by Dr. B. R. 
Ambedkar, the Scheduled Castes Leader, who is flying back 
to India on Monday at the close of his mission to England. 

Dr. Ambedkar, who came to protest at what he considers 
injustice that the Scheduled Castes have not been permitted 
to nominate their own representative to the Indian Provisional 
Government has seen all principal British Political Leaders, 
including the Prime Minister, Mr. Clement Attlee. 

Dr. Ambedkar said that he was more than satisfied with 
the result of his visit to England. “I have found among all 
parties profound sympathy for the Scheduled Castes and their 
future,” he said. 

“This applies among all the parties and in all quarters”, 
declared Dr. Ambedkar adding that he considered his visit 
had the effect of acquainting everyone in England of the peril 
in which Untouchables stand at the present moment having 
regard to the institution of the Constituent Assembly and the 
position they occupy in it. 

I have no doubt that this question will not be forgotten 
or neglected by the various parties in Parliament whenever 
India comes up for discussion. That in itself is a great solace 
to the Untouchables, who all along were feeling that their 
case might go by the board.” 

Dr. Ambedkar added that he had met members of the 
Government and although it was natural that they should 
be hesitant to make any comments as to the future course of 
their action, he believed that if the occasion arose for their 
intervention, they would not hesitate to rectify any wrong 
done to the Untouchables. 


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282 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

Dr. Ambedkar said he was quite surprised to find that some 
of Mr. Gandhi’s friends in London were critical of his attitude 
towards the Scheduled Castes. “In their opinion even if the 
Untouchables were Hindus, that in itself is not an objection 
to giving them separate electorates”, he said. Mr. Attlee’s 
knowledge of Indian situation impressed Dr. Ambedkar who 
thought that the Prime Minister was aware that the Scheduled 
Castes “needed to be looked after.” 

He also thought that “Mr. Churchill was very keen and 
desirous of seeing that the Scheduled Castes were protected* 
in any Constitution that might be framed .” * 1 


• • 


* See appendix - VII. 

1 : The Bombay Chronicle, dated 9th November 1946. 


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27 

ASCERTAIN WISHES OF MINORITIES 

Dr. B. R. Ambedkar while returning from London to India 
was interviewed at Karachi air port on November 15, 1946. 
The following is the report: Editors. 

KARACHI, November 15, 1946 The hope that before the 
passing of the Act in Parliament transferring sovereignty to 
India the British Government would take some definite steps 
to ascertain the real wishes of the minorities, including the 
Depressed Classes, was expressed by Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, in 
an interview here on his return from the United Kingdom. 

Dr. Ambedkar urged the Congress even at this eleventh 
hour to grant the Depressed Classes separate political 
representation in order to ensure absolute peace between them. 

He said that he discussed the Depressed Classes problems 
with the British Prime Minister and the Secretary of State for 
India as well as with Mr. Churchill, Mr. R. A. Butler, Lord 
Templewood, formerly Sir Samuel Hoare, who as Secretary 
of State for India piloted the India Act of 1935 and Lord 
Scarborough. 

Dr. Ambedkar said that there was in Britain not only a 
great deal of sympathy but a general resentment that the 
Depressed Classes should have been ignored in the manner 
in which the Cabinet Mission had done. He added : The 
memorandum which I submitted and which contained an 
analysis of the figures of primary elections caused great 
surprise because the statement made by the members of the 
British Cabinet Mission in the Commons that the Congress 
represented the Scheduled Classes were absolutely disapproved 
by the figures. I am, therefore, quite certain that when the 
matter comes to be examined by Parliament at the time of 
the passing of the Act, transferring sovereignty, they will not 
be guided by the mere fact that the decision by Constituent 
Assembly with regard to minority safeguards is a decision 
arrived at by the majority and that some definite steps will be 
taken to ascertain the real wishes of the minorities concerned.” 

Asked whether he would participate in the Constituent 
Assembly, Dr. Ambedkar said he certainly would and added : “I 


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284 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

would act in a Constitutional manner to further our cause. 
After all constitutional means are exhausted, we shall then 
consider what other means we can adopt., 

Dr. Ambedkar left for Bombay by Air this afternoon .” 1 


• • 


The Times of India, Saturday, dated 16th November 1946. Reprinted : 
Khairmode, Vol. 8, P. 142-143. 


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28 

“DAWN” ON AMBEDKARS POLITICAL MISSION 

TO ENGLAND 

1st January, 1947 

After a month of patent labour in Britain where he met 
leading members of the Govt, as well as of the opposition, 
Dr. Ambedkar, the Scheduled Castes leader, has returned to India 
where his main work lies. The trip to London was undertaken 
in order to place his community’s case before the British Public 
in a realistic manner. Congress propaganda for the last several 
years has created a wrong picture of the existing divisions in 
the country and even the Cabinet Mission was taken in by its 
false presentation of facts. 

The All India Scheduled Castes Federation is the 
representative organisation of the Community and Congress has 
come in as an interloper to disrupt the strength and solidarity of 
the organisation. The statement by the Cabinet Mission members 
in the House of Commons that the Congress represented the 
Scheduled Castes is correct only to the extent that this powerful 
political organisation backed up with its immense resources 
succeeded in capturing many seats reserved for the Scheduled 
Castes. That did not mean that the true representatives of the 
community have been returned to the various legislatures. 

Dr. Ambedkar’s immediate task in Britain was to demolish 
this myth and he has done it in the memorandum which he 
has submitted to the British political leaders. The memorandum 
itself has not been published but from the interview 
Dr. Ambedkar gave on his arrival in Karachi it is clear that 
he has gained some measure of success in his mission. He has 
established personal contacts with several leading personalities 
in Britain including Mr. Attlee and Mr. Churchill, and he 
speaks confidently that when the matter comes to be examined 
by the Parliament at the time of passing the Act transferring 
sovereignty some definite steps are sure to be taken to ascertain 
the real wishes of the Minorities as to the safeguards they 
need. It is also cheering to hear from the Doctor that there is 
not only a great deal of sympathy among the British Public 
for the Scheduled Castes’ cause but also general resentment 
that the Cabinet Mission should have ignored the claims of the 


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286 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

community. Even among the labour party people the 
feeling is said to be growing whether after all what the 
labour Government has done for the solution of the Indian 
constitutional problem is the right thing to do. This is certainly 
a gain for once the British public gives up wishful thinking 
and faces the realities of the Indian situation, solution of the 
Indian problem should become less difficult. 

Dr. Ambedkar insists on separate political representation 
for the Depressed Classes as the only means by which their 
dispute with the Congress can be settled and once this is 
granted, he thinks, there will be absolute peace between the 
Congress and the Scheduled Castes. As one who has suffered 
in his earlier days from Caste Hindu tyranny and ostracism 
he cannot easily be brought round to trust the Upper Classes 
among the Hindus nor can he safely place the destiny of 
his community to their tender mercies. Adequate statutory 
protection of their rights against Caste Hindu encroachments 
is a wise course that dictates his line of action. He says, 
he is wedded to constitutional means of seeking redress of 
his community’s grievances and only after they have been 
exhausted will he look to other courses. Here is the olive 
branch extended to the Congress. 

The Scheduled Castes leader has denied any secret pact 
between the Scheduled Castes Federation and the Muslim 
League. What pact secret or otherwise, can there be except 
that they are both alive to the common peril that faces them 
and the country by the in position of Caste Hindu Congress 
rule over this sub-continent ? The character and Composition 
of the Congress leadership is such that it has given grave 
fears among wide sections of the people and if the League 
and Scheduled Castes are drawn together, it is out of a 
realisation of the common danger and how best to face it in 
the general interest and well being of the people as a whole. 
The life of the Depressed Classes in this country has been 
that of slaves for ages and they are determined to end it. It 
is for them to decide as to how best they can do it and not 
for the Congress to dictate. 

“Dawn ” 1 

• • 


l : Reprinted : Jai Bheem : 1st January 1947. 


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SECTION III 

ON BUILDING OF NATION AND 
ITS DEMOCRACY 


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1 

PROVINCIAL AUTONOMY WITHOUT 
RESPONSIBILITY WOULD BE UNWISE 

Dr. B. R. Ambedkar left for England on November 7, 1932. 
In an interview, as the time of his departure, he said that the 
establishment of Provincial Autonomy without responsibility at 
the Centre would be unwise and that he disliked the idea of 
Central responsibility for British India being made dependent 
upon an All-India Federation. As regards the Civil Disobedience 
Movement of Gandhi, he opined that it was not a rebellion 
as it could not oust the British Bureaucracy. 


Keer, P. 219. 


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2 

JOINT VS. SEPARATE ELECTORATES 
DR. AMBEDKARS VIA MEDIA 

Minority in a Province to Decide Question 

The Times of India reported Dr. B. R. Ambedkar’s statement 
on this subject as saying that — 

“The exchange of views and compliments between Pandit 
Madan Mohan Malaviya and Mr. Jinnah has once more 
revealed that there is no hope in the immediate future of 
the Hindus and Muslims agreeing to replace the Communal 
Decision of His Majesty’s Government by a settlement based 
on mutual agreement. Pandit Malaviya has left the field by 
saying that for the present the two communities must work 
separately, I do not know how many will look with satisfaction 
at the prospect of the two communities working separately. 
To me at any rate it appears that working in separation must 
inevitably end in working in antagonism. 

I am neither a Hindu nor a Muslim, and I make this 
proposal not as a Partisan but as a student of the problem. 

Before I set forth the proposal, I should like to promise 
that the expression “minority” has been loosely used in the 
communal controversy and what is worse is that it is used 
without any reference to the Province or to the constituency 
in a Province in relation to which alone it can have any 
meaning in politics. In my view a community is a minority 
and is entitled to get protection as a “minority” only if it is a 
minority in the Province, or strictly speaking if it is a “minority” 
in the constituency. Except in relation to the Province or to 
the constituency a “minority” has no political significance. 

A Suggestion 

Staring from this basic point, on which I should 
like to lay the utmost emphasis I can, my proposal is 
to separate the two questions that are covered in the 
Communal Award, namely the question of seats and 
the question of electorates. These two questions are 


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JOINT VS. SEPARATE VIA MEDIA 291 

separate questions and the considerations that have to be 
taken into account for their solution are quite different. 
Having separated the two questions, my advice to Hindus 
and to Muslims is to accept that part of the Communal 
Award which deals with the number of seats if not 
permanently, Pro tem, leaving it to be decided on some more 
equitable principle at some future stage. But with regard 
to the question of electorates let the Communal Award 
be modified by the acceptance by Hindus and Muslims of 
this simple proposition, that the question of electorates is 
a matter for the minority in the Province or strictly for a 
minorty in a particular constituency of the Province whether 
the election before the Central or Provincial Legislature and 
the majority should abide by the decision of the minority. 

Minority Must Decide 

If the minority wants separate electorates the majority 
should have nothing to say against it; equally if the minority 
wants joint electorates, the majority should be bound to 
accept their decision. 

The proposal could be applied even in cases where 
there are many minorities and where they are not of a 
common mind on the issue of electorates. In such cases 
the minority which wants a separate electorate will have 
a separate register for itself, while the minority wishing to 
have a joint electorate will have a common register with 
the majority. Nothing could be better if the agreement 
accepted the principle that the decision in the matter of 
electorates is to rest with the minority in each constituency. 
But if that cannot be achieved, it would be some advance 
if an agreement could be arrived at on the basis that the 
decision as to the electorates is to be left to the minority 
in the Province. 

By such an agreement the Muslim minorities in the 
Hindu majority Provinces like Bombay, Madras, the 
Central Provinces, the United Provinces, etc, will get 
separate electorates if they choose to have them. On 
the other hand, in the Muslim majority Provinces like 
the Punjab, Sind, Bengal and the N. W. F. Provinces 


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292 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

the Hindus will have joint electorates if they ask for them. 
The whole point of the proposal is to leave the question of the 
electorates to the decision of the minority. Separate or joint 
electorates are devised for the protection of the minority and 
the minority is the best judge as to which of these two will 
protect it best. 

If the proposal is faulty in principle, it would, of course, 
deserve no consideration at the hands of either Mr. Jinnah or 
Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya. But if the proposal is just and 
fair, as I believe it is, I hope Mr. Jinnah will have the courage 
to pass it upon his Co-religionists and Pandit Malaviya the 
wisdom to accept. 


A Middle Stage 

The proposal does not, of course, help in one sweep to 
realise the goal of the Congress and the Hindu Mahasabha to 
have joint electorates instituted in all the Provinces of India 
between Hindus and Muslims. But the proposal has the merit 
of establishing a middle stage between the extreme Congress 
and Hindu Mahasabha stand on joint electorates throughout and 
the extreme Muslim demand of separate electorates throughout. 
From this middle stage, at which there will prevail a mixed 
system of joint electorates in some Provinces and separate 
electorates in the rest, the journey to the final stage of joint 
electorates throughout will be rendered very easy. It is only the 
impatient idealists among the protagonists of joint electorates 
who will disapprove of the proposal .” 1 

However, there were additional dimensions in the statement 
of Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, on the subject which were reported by 
the ‘Janata’. The dimensions were ; 

“The structure of the electorate is not an exclusive concern 
of the minority. It is a problem in constitution- making in which 
the whole nation has a stake. A national problem cannot be 
converted into a special preserve for the exclusive judgment of 
this or that part of it, by the mere assertion of some claim for 
protection supposed to be connected with it. Since uniformity 
on any question is impossible, the judgment of the majority has 
come to do duty as the nearest possible substitute to the will of 
the people, in a world of inevitable divergence in political tenets. 


1 : The Times of India, dated 9th April 1934. 


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JOINT VS. SEPARATE VIA MEDIA 293 

To elevate the minority, only because it is a minority, to 
a pinnacle of power and prestige superior to that held by the 
majority, is the way to cut at the root of the very fundamental 
principle of democratic government. Political thought marches 
from precedent to precedent. An objectionable principle, once 
given quarter tends to surround itself with a sort of vested 
interest. With power secured from mere sufferance, it defies 
all attempts made to dislodge it. It is for this reason that 
temporary compromises, tolerated with the hope of being 
soon dispensed with, end by becoming formidable obstacles 
to progress. 

No consideration can justify the setting up of a tyranny 
of the minority, or the relegation of the will of the majority 
to a status inferior to that of minority. 

— Free Press ” 1 

• • 


1 : Reprinted : Janata, dated 28th April 1934. 


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3 

ASSURANCE WILL NOT BE LOSS TO GOVERNOR ; 
NOR IT WILL BE GAIN TO CONGRESS. 

Bombay, April 8, 1937. 

“Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, Barrister-at-Law, has issued the 
following statement on the constitutional impasse in India : 

“Having lost the field to the Congress I did not think 
it necessary to express my views on the situation that has 
arisen, as a result of the refusal of the Governors to give 
an undertaking to the Congress leaders in terms of the All- 
India Congress Committee resolution. But as some friends 
pressed me to say what I think of the situation, I have 
persuaded myself to enter into the controversy. 

I cannot understand why Congressmen blame the 
Governor for framing what are called interim Ministries, 
and I am somewhat surprised to find that Congressmen 
who are so unwilling to accept offices and whose programme 
was to wreck the Constitution, instead of having a sigh of 
relief at the installation of the interim ministries, should 
be so glamorous and indignant at the loss of the chance, 
that one begins to suspect that their cry of wrecking the 
Constitution was a mere pose. 

Governor not to Blame 

When a party which has a majority refuses to accept 
office, it is the duty of the Governor to offer it to those 
who can give him the assurance that they can secure 
the majority in the Legislature to support their policy. 
The persons to blame are not the Governors, but the 
men who have accepted offices. It is for those who have 
accepted offices to consider, whether they would not be 
held guilty of deceiving the Governor, should they fail to 
produce the necessary majority on the floor of the House. 
The Governors will come in for blame only if they were to 
use their special powers under the Constitution to keep 
in office ministers who have lost the confidence of the 
majority of the Legislature, because under the Instrument 
of Instructions issued to them, the Governors have been 


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ASSURANCE WILL NOT TO CONGRESS 295 

enjoined to be studious so to exercise their powers, as not 
to enable their Ministers to rely upon their special powers 
in order to relieve themselves of the responsibilities, which 
properly belongs to ministers. 

Situation not Arisen 

That situation has not yet arisen, and before passing any 
criticism upon the action of the Governor, we have to wait 
and see what he does, when the Ministers who are now in 
charge are defeated by the adverse vote of the Legislature. 

Assurance demand 

The principal question, however, is whether the Congress 
was justified in asking an undertaking from the Governor 
before accepting office, to which they are by reason of their 
majority entitled to. It is admitted by Congressmen that they 
do not want an amendment of the Statute. It is the contention 
of Congressmen that the Governors could have given the 
undertaking they want, without in any way abrogating the 
provisions of the Government of India Act, and the question 
is whether such an undertaking can be given without the 
abrogation of the Statute. 

King and Governor 

Both Mr. Bhulabhai Desai and Mr. C. Rajagopalachari in 
championing the position taken by the Congress have stated 
in so many words that there is nothing in the Act to prevent 
the Governors from giving the undertaking and that if the 
Governors did not give the undertaking it was because they 
did not wish to give it. 

The question we are concerned with, is whether without 
affecting the provisions of the Government of India Act, it is 
possible for the Governors to agree to suspend their special 
powers. The view taken by Mr. Bhulabhai Desai appeals to be 
founded on the belief that there is no difference between the 
special power given to the Governor under the Government 
of India Act and the veto powers of the King. But I contend 
that the power of individual judgment of individual discretion 
vested in the Governor is of a totally different character from 
the power of veto possessed by the King under the English 
Constitution. 


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296 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

The power of veto gives to the King the right to reject the 
advice of a Minister of his Cabinet that a certain course of 
action may be pursued. But it does not give the King the right 
to act in a particular way without the advice of a Minister to 
take responsibility for it. 

The power of individual judgment and individual discretion 
not only gives the Governor the right to reject the advice of 
a Minister but it also gives him the right to act without the 
Minister’s advice in support of that. In fact, contrary to the 
advice of the Minister, the King must have some Minister to 
support the action he proposes to take. The Governor need have 
no Minister to support the action he takes. That is the difference 
between the power of veto and the power of individual judgment. 

Limited Ministry 

Mr. Rajagopalachari’s claim that the Ministers in India 
are entitled to the same treatment which Ministers under 
the Parliamentary system of popular government are entitled 
to, disclose a complete misunderstanding of the system of 
Government embodied in the Government of India Act. The 
system of Government embodies in the Government of India 
Act is a system of limited Ministry. It is not a system of limited 
monarchy. In a limited monarchy the authority of monarchy is 
limited by the power of the ministry. In the limited ministry 
system, the power of the ministers is limited by the authority of 
the Governor. If these distinctions which I have tried to point out, 
the distinction between veto power and individual judgment and 
the distinction between limited ministry and limited monarchy, 
are borne in mind, it will be easy to understand why the King 
can suspend his power of veto and the Governor cannot. The 
Governor cannot give up his special powers. Under the law, he 
is responsible for whatever is done by the Ministry should the 
action of the Ministry result in evil consequences. One may 
quarred with the constitution and insist that the responsibility 
should be on the Ministry and not on the Governor but one 
cannot ignore it. Taking the Constitution as it is and marking the 
difference that exists between it and the English Constitution, 
there is no question in my mind that the legal inability of the 
Governors to abandon their special powers is real and that they 
cannot have abdicated their functions without violation of the 


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ASSURANCE WILL NOT TO CONGRESS 297 

Constitutional law which by their Instrument of Instructions 
they are bound to carry out. To put it in simpler form one can 
give up power if there is no responsibility, but, one cannot 
give up power, if there is responsibility. 

The existence of special powers in my judgment could never 
be urged as a serious ground of objection to the working of 
the Constitution. 

Mahatma’s Reason 

Mahatma Gandhi has given quite a different reason for 
demanding the assurance. The ground is so insubstantial 
that one wonders whether it could have been urged by any 
one who knows how constitutions are worked. He says : “a 
strong party with a decisive backing of the electorate could 
not accept to put itself in the precarious position of being all 
the time in dread of interference at the will of the Governor 
self-respecting Minister conscious of his absolute majority. One 
would have thought that a Ministry conscious of its electoral 
strength instead of its electoral strength instead of cringing 
for an assurance would enter the field and defy the Governor 
and use their powers against him. “Surely if an undertaking 
is necessary at all, it is for a weak Ministry which has no 
electoral strength behind it to ask for it. An undertaking is 
not necessary for a strong Party like the Congress. Why are 
Congressmen begging for an assurance from the Governor of 
good behaviour. They can compel him to behave. 

Governors can give Assurance 

Could not the Governors have treated the Congressmen 
as we treat naughty children and stopped them from creating 
trouble by giving them an assurance for which they were 
crying? Reading the resolution of the A.I.C.C. and taking note 
of the fact that they were asking for an assurance in terms of 
that resolution. I believe that nothing would have been lost, if 
such an assurance had been given. It seems to me that as the 
Congress Ministers were giving an undertaking to act within 
the Constitution and this undertaking is quite explicit in their 
formula there was apparently no reason why the Governors 
should have refused to give the reciprocal undertaking that 
they would not exercise their special powers. 


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298 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

No Gain or Loss 

But the question that I would like to ask all Congressmen 
is this. What is it that they would have gained if the Governor 
had given the undertaking in the terms of the A.I.C.C. 
resolution? It seems to me that the important question is 
who is to determine whether the occasion for the exercise of 
the Special Powers by the Governor had arisen or not. There 
would have been something achieved, if the Congressmen 
were asking for an undertaking that whether the occasion 
for the use of special powers had arisen or not was to be 
determined by the Cabinet. Such an undertaking would 
have been of real value, but such an undertaking was not 
demanded. The undertaking demanded by Congressmen was 
inconsequential, that in spite of it and without violating it, 
the Governor would have been left free to interfere on the 
plea that in doing a particular thing the Ministry was acting 
in such a manner that in his judgment the occasion for the 
use of Special Power had arisen. I have been therefore trying 
to find out what would have been lost by the Governor if he 
had given the assurance and what would have been gained 
by the Congressmen if the Assurance had been given .” 1 


• • 


1 :The Bombay Chronicle, dated 9th April 1937. 


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4 

IT IS PURELY A PARTY MOVE 
NO NATIONAL PURPOSE 

“Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, leader of the Independent Labour 
Party in the Bombay Provincial Legislature, on behalf of 
himself and his party members, has written a letter to 
Mr. B. G. Kher, leader of the Congress Party, refusing to support 
the latter party in expressing disapproval of the appointment 
of the Council of Ministers by the Governor of Bombay. 

In his reply, Dr. Ambedkar throws the blame for the present 
situation upon the Congress Party, for, in his party’s opinion, 
the Congress demand for an assurance from the Governor is 
unnecessary and impossible. 

The Governor’s action in not calling the session of the 
Legislature, Dr. Ambedkar maintains, cannot at the moment 
be called into question. Such action will be unconstitutional 
only if six months elapse without the session being called. 

The Constitution having now come into operation, 
Independent Labour Party thinks, that no extra-constitutional 
agitation by members of the Legislature should be launched 
upon unless all constitutional means have been tried and 
have failed. 

This move of the Congress Party is intended to justify the 
Congress position, and to enhance its power and prestige, adds 
Dr. Ambedkar. It is purely a party move. It has no national 
purpose .” 1 * * 

• • 


1 The Times of India, dated 17th May 1937. 

* Jagjiwan Ram, President Bihar Prov. Depressed Classes Leage, Patna 
sent a letter dated 8th March 1937 to Dr. B. R. Ambedkar. may be 
perused at appendix -VIII 


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5 

WE SHALL WAGE RELENTLESS WAR TO 
INTRODUCE ADULT FRANCHISE 

“It is amazing that the Bombay Ministry holding office 
on the ticket of the Indian National Congress which has 
pompously announced the programme of framing the National 
Constitution through Constituent Assembly elected on the basis 
of adult franchise, should shirk its duty and responsibility on 
the question of adult franchise in the manner in which it is 
trying to do in the matter of Bombay Municipal Amendment 
Bill” said Dr. Ambedkar in the course of an interview with 
a “Sentinel” representative. 

“Some of the members of the Lothian Committee for 
which the Congress never showed much love was prepared 
to introduce adult franchise throughout the entire Province 
“he said,” and the only difficulty which came in their way 
was the scarcity of men to register votes on the polling day.” 

“The Congress Government which has been shouting for 
years past for adult franchise should have taken the first 
opportunity to introduce it in district and taluka boards and 
municipalities. But they have shirked this responsibility right 
at the start. 

“As regards adult franchise for Bombay Municipality 
there should not have been any room for hesitation, if there 
is any place in the whole Presidency which is best fitted for 
“experiment” in adult franchise, it is Bombay. The standard 
of literacy is higher here than anywhere else. The people are 
more alive to public question than perhaps elsewhere. There 
are a host of other reasons why Bombay is the fittest place 
for introducing adult franchise. Yet the Congress Ministry 
brings forward a bill which contemplate adult franchise in 
1942 and that on the condition that the Corporation would 
agree to it. 

“As Mr. N. M. Joshi has said, it is an absurd condition. 
The Corporation is not going to commit suicide by voting for 
an electorate which will, to a large extent, wipe them out 
of existence. 



Greatness can be achieved only by struggle and sacrifice. Neither 
manhood nor Godhood can be obtained without going through the 
ordeal of fire. 


Dr. B. R. Ambedkar 


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WE SHALL WAGE ADULT FRANCHISE 301 

WHATEVER THE POLICY OF THE CONGRESS 
GOVERNMENT, I AND MY PARTY, REPRESENTING 
THE MOST DOWNTRODDEN STRATA OF SOCIETY, 
WILL JOIN AND FURTHER ANY MOVEMENT THAT 
CAN SECURE ADULT FRANCHISE FOR THE CITY 

On the floor of the Assembly we shall organise a relentless 
battle to secure this — the prime condition of democracy — and 
if possible force the hands of the Ministry to yield. 

OUTSIDE THE ASSEMBLY WE SHALL HELP 

IN THE ORGANISATION OF MEETINGS AND 
DEMONSTRATIONS TO MAKE THE MINISTRY REALISE 
THE FORCE OF PUBLIC DEMANDAND THE VALUE OF 
IMPLEMENTING PUBLIC PLEDGES AND PRINCIPLES. 

I hope, however, that the Ministry will have the wisdom 
to realise the folly of introducing a bill of the nature they 
propose to do. I hope, before introducing it in the Assembly, 
they will remember their promises and pledges and make 
the necessary changes so as immediately to introduce adult 
franchise without having to wait till 1942 and for the consent 
of the Corporation.” 1 


• • 


1. : The Bombay Sentinel, dated 31st January 1938. 


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6 

MOBILISE AGAINST FEDERATION 
TURNING POINT IN HISTORY OF NATION 

Bombay, July 20, 1938. 

“Federation is an issue on which all the progressive 
elements in the country should concentrate their strength, 
irrespective of party differences, so that the future of the 
country may not be endangered” 

“This is a crucial moment and it demands the highest 
sacrifice from all,” observed Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, Leader of 
the Independent Labour Party of Bombay, in the course of a 
statement to the “United Press,” on the present controversy 
relating to Federation and the attitude of his party to it. 

Congress and Federation 

“At the present moment” continued Dr. Ambedkar, 
“the political issue of the highest national importance in 
this country is the acceptance or nonacceptance of the 
Federal Plan as embodied in the Government of India 
Act, 1935. The representatives of the British Government 
are straining every nerve to introduce Federation at the 
earliest possible date. Apparently the whole country is 
opposed to that part of the Government of India Act which 
relates to Federation. There are, however, different shades 
in the opposition and even the Congress Party which is 
committed to the rejection of the Federal Plan seems to 
be divided as regards the attitude the Congress should 
adopt in practice towards Federation. There are reasons 
to believe that most of the older leaders are not after all 
so uncompromising in their opposition as the wording of 
the resolutions passed on the subject from the Congress 
platform may lead some people to suppose and that to 
a few of them the introduction of Federation would be 
positively welcome. 

“Further, on the strength of the past experience in such matters 
the fear may rightly be entertained that the older leaders of the party 


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MOBILISE OF INDIA 303 

will eventually succeed in silencing the opposition of the 
younger leaders either on the ground of accepting it for what 
it is worth or on the usual ground of accepting it for wrecking 
it. There is also circumstantial evidence to believe that in spite 
of all camouflage there have been recently secret negotiations 
in India as well as in England. It is, therefore, just likely 
that as the result of these negotiations the constitution will 
be subjected to some tinkering processs and then it will be 
declared as worthy of acceptance.” 

Turning Point 

Referring to the policy of the Independent Labour Party 
Dr. Ambedkar said: “The Independent Labour Party feels that 
this is a turning point in the nation’s life and that it is the 
duty of every party in the country to look at the question 
not from a party point of view but from a standpoint of the 
country. The reactionary nature of the Lederal scheme in the 
Government of India Act is not properly and fully realised 
in many quarters. Most of the Indian politicians seem to 
be dissatisfed with the new constitution merely because it 
is halting and withholds full powers of self-government. Its 
dangers are not sufficiently realised by them. And in the case 
of these leaders the threat not to work the Constitution may 
be regarded as only bluff. I am afraid the majority of the 
Congressmen, or the majority of the leaders, for that matter 
belong to this category. 

“The Independent Labour Party will never be a party to 
bartering away the country’s freedom to grow to full nationhood, 
for the sake of a mess of pottage, by howsoever a big name 
it may be called. In the process of evolution, Lederation may 
be inevitable, but certainly it is not the Lederation which is 
envisaged in the new Constitution.” 

Defects in Federation 

Referring to the grounds of criticisms against Lederation by 
his party Dr. Ambedkar said : “The grounds of criticism may 
be divided into two groups (1) imperfections, and (2) inherent 
defects. The former include the preponderating representation 
given to the States, the represenation of the States through 


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304 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

nominations, the unequal distribution of financial burden 
between British India and the States, indirect elections to 
the Federal Assembly and the special responsibilities of the 
Governor-General. Under the latter the following may be 
mentioned: (1) treating Paramountacy as a reserved subject, 

(2) impossibility of securing full control over the army and 

(3) the impossibility of securing full control over finances. 
Although the imperfections are serious, they may disappear 
or be removed or mitigated in the course of time. Such is not 
the case with the inherent defects. These defects cannot be 
removed unless the whole Federal constitution is scrapped. 
Nobody need quarrel with a constitution because it has certain 
imperfections in it. These imperfections can be removed in 
practice by mutual understanding and experience shows that 
it is not impossible. If they are such that they cannot be 
removed in practice, they can be made good when the time 
for revision comes. But the case is totally different when the 
constitution is based upon principles which are defective and 
which cannot allow it to grow. The Federal Constitution is 
wrong in its conception and wrong in its basis.” 

“Deadly Poison” 

Concluding Dr. Ambedkar said: “The introduction of the 
Federal Scheme in the Government of India Act deserves, in 
the opinion of the Independent Labour Party, to be resisted by 
every possible means. The Federal part of the new constitution 
must be shunned as a deadly poison. Should the Congress 
decided by a majority to fight the new constitution it shall 
have the full support of the Independent Labour Party. In 
case, however, the majority in the Congress be swayed by the 
reactionary element and Mr. Subhas Chandra Bose decides 
to stick to his guns, the Independent Labour Pary will join 
hands with his party. Our party will co-operate with the 
party or the combination of parties undertaking to fight the 
Federal part of the new constitution in every possible way.” 

United Press.” 1 

• • 


1. : The Bombay Chronicle, dated 21st July 1938. 


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7 

DISTRIBUTIVE SYSTEM OF VOTING 
Dr. Ambedkar’s Opposition 

Bombay, Thursday* 

“Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, the Labour leader, has cabled to 
the Secretary of State for India and to Major Attlee, the 
Opposition leader, expressing opposition to the Untouchables 
to the proposed distributive system of voting. 

The following is the text of the cable : — 

Secretary of State for India, London. 

On behalf of Untouchables I emphatically protest proposal 
to introduce distributive system of voting as antagonistic to 
spirit of Poona Pact. 

Ambedkar. 

Major Attlee, M. P. 

House of Commons, 

London. 

“Opposed proposed Order-in-Council introducing distributive 
vote injurious to Untouchables. 

Ambedkar.” * 1 

• • 


* the 9th March 1939. 

1. : The Free Press Journal, dated 10th March 1939. 


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8 

GREAT BRITAIN MUST BE SUPPORTED 

The views that India should support Great Britain in the War 
is expressed by Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, President of the Independent 
Labour Party, outlining the parties attitude, in a statement to 
the press — Editors 

The Executive Council of the Independent Labour Party has 
authorised the President of the Party to issue the following 
statement defining the attitude of the Party towards the European 
War. 

Ever since the War was declared, there has been a stream of 
statements flowing from representative Indians expressing their 
views as to the duty of Indians in this War. Although there is a 
preponderance of opinion that India should join the war on the 
side of Great Britain there is no enthusiasm. On the contrary, 
there is noticable quite a degree of hesitancy and unwillingness 
to throw in their lot with Great Britain. It is obvious that if 
help is to be rendered then there must be no lukewarmness or 
unfriendliness. 

Between the lukewarm who are prepared to do no more 
than co-operate for the purpose only of inactive defence and the 
unfriendly anything except cause passive obstacle anything by 
way of real help will be neutralized. It is, therefore, necessary 
to enlist the support of all classes and sections, and for that it 
is necessary to examine and understand the reasons which are 
responsible for this want of enthusiasm. 

Chamberlain’s Lethargy 

Analysing the causes of this want of enthusiasm it appears to 
the Independent Labour Party that it undoubtedly arises from the 
conduct of Great Britain and France in the past. Great Britain 
and France have been very slow in taking action against Germany. 

Instead of putting down the aggression by Germany on the 
first available opportunity by collective action they have allowed 
Germany to commit acts of aggression one after the other and 
have pursued the policy of appeasing Germany of sacrificing the 
life and liberty of nations particularly Czecho-Slovakia whom it 
was their sacred duty to protect. Hitler has been allowed five 
victories and Poland may be his sixth. 


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GREAT BRITAIN SUPPORTED 307 

The Independent Labour Party feels that he ought to have 
been dealt with long ago by the Powers who have now come 
forward to oppose him. 

By their being ready to buy peace from Germany by sacrificing 
the life and liberty of smaller and weaker nations a great deal 
of the moral basis of this Call to Arms is lost. 

The Independent Labour Party feels that wars are fought 
without and sincere desire to establish peace on just and lasting 
terms and to preserve the terms of peace from being trampled 
upon after it is made. 

Three Essential Conditions 

Great Britain and France never realized that while collective 
security is good it is not enough. In the 1914 war, there was 
nothing wanting in collective security. There was a great array 
of nations out to put down the aggressor and the aggressor was 
put down. But the aggressor rose again from his grave and is 
now on the top of every body. 

This shows that mere victory is not enough to put down 
the aggressor. The Independent Labour Party feels that certain 
other precautions such as the following must be taken if war 
is to result in a lasting peace. 

First: — Victory must result in a peace which is just. 

Second : — Peace must be protected by collective action. 

Third: — The Protagonists of peace must be prepared 
to vindicate any breach of the peace no matter where it 
occurs, near or far and no matter who is the victim of it. 

Without these precautions it is not possible to put an end 
to war. Indeed, the Independent Labour Party is so strongly 
impressed by these considerations that it feels that as a 
preliminary step the Allies should forthwith establish a Council 
of the representatives of nations who are ready to fight on 
their side to determine the terms of peace and announce them 
to the world so that they may be known to all and also to the 
German people. 

Nothing in the opinion of the Independent Labour Party can 
convince the world better of the justice of the Allies’ cause than 
such an announcement. It will assure every one that the Allies’ 


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308 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

claim is to have a just peace and are determined to maintain 
it when obtained. Only such a war can truely be said to be 
a war to end war. In such a war no some person can have 
any hesitation to join. 

India And Empire Foreign Policy 

There is one other defect in the situation which the 
Independent Labour Party thinks is responsible for this 
attitude of hesitancy on the part of Indians to help Great 
Britain. As the position stands to-day India is tied to the 
chariot wheels of the British Cabinet. The British Statesmen 
are free to pursue any kind of foreign policy and make any 
kind of international commitments. They are free to declare 
or not to declare war as they please and they are free to 
make any kind of peace they like. India has no voice in their 
foreign policy in declaring war nor in the making of peace. 

If a particular foreign policy succeeds very little of its 
advantage comes to India. But if the policy leads to war then 
Indians are called upon to help in men and money. 

India has no ‘locus standi in the making of events that 
bring on war. She has no locus standi 1 in the making of terms 
which often instead of ending war only adjourn war. Her duty 
is to be present only when war is on. Such a position is, to 
say the least anomalous and unfair to a country like India. 

Unquestionable Right 

It is true that at the time of the Versailles Treaty Indian 
delegates were allowed to attest the terms of the Treaty. But 
it is no compensation to India to have the honour of attesting 
the peace terms when they are made. India has a greater 
claim to participate in the foreign policy of the British Empire 
and in the making of the peace terms than any dominion. 

The Dominions have the right to be neutral. Consequently 
they are not bound to undergo the consequences of a war 
resulting from a particular foreign policy if they do not approve 
of the justness or propriety of the war. But India has no 
escape from any war which the British Cabinet chooses to 
involve themselves in. If India is to be committed to war or 
peace then she has an absolute right to be consulted, which 
sadly is not the case to-day. 


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GREAT BRITAIN SUPPORTED 309 

Menace To All Nations 

The Independent Labour Party has taken into consideration 
all these grounds of hesitancy. It cannot be denied that they have 
considerable weight in them. If the war was being fought just to 
save Poland they might have acquired more decisive force. For in 
the opinion of the Independent Labour Party there is not much 
virtue on the side of Poland. Poland has put democracy to death 
long ago. The treatment of Jews by Poland was not less cruel 
than the treatment accorded to them by the Germans. Poland, 
even in this emergency, was prepared to die rather than be saved 
with the help of Russia. But as the Independent Labour Party 
sees it the war is not fought merely for the sake of Poland. 

The Polish issue is only an incident in the war. Nobody can 
deny that the war between Germany and Poland has a deeper 
significance and a wider range. It is a war in which ‘Germany 
claims that she is not merely a nation, one among many, but 
that she must be acknowledged as a superior nation high above 
and over the rest, whose will he obeyed without question and 
that in case of disobedience she has the right to impose her will 
upon those who disagree with her by means of violence. Such 
a claim is a menace to all nations and not merely to Poland. 

Insult To India 

In a situation like this it is obvious that those nation who 
believe that all nations are equal, that each of them has equal 
right to live, pursue its happiness without being hampered by 
its fellows and * total of human civilization must combine to 
resist this preposterous claim. 

The claim made on behalf of the German nation is an insult 
to other nations. But it is particularly obnoxious to India. It 
runs counter to aspirations and ambitions of the Indian people 
and is calculated to defeat and destroy them. India is aspiring 
to be a nation of self governing people and her ambition is that 
in spite of all difficulties she will not only attain that status but 
will strive to maintain that status. 

When Germany insists that the Nordic race alone must 
dominate the word and that every other nation of another race 
must take a subordinate place, she throws a challenge to all 
other races. 


* Few words are illegibles. 


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310 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

Having regard to the aspirations and ambitions of the Indian 
people and having regard to the fundamental conflict between 
them and the German, ideal India cannot avoid taking up the 
challenge of Germany, assert herself and show her readiness to 
vindicate her right to reach her destiny. 

That being the view of what is involved in this war the 
Independent Labour Party has no hesitation in saying that this 
is war which the Indian people in their own interest should 
support and help Great Britain to prosecute the same. 

Empty Phrase 

The Independent Labour party is aware that there is also a 
certain degree of hesitancy on the part of other political parties. 
But that hesitancy is not based on principle, but is based on 
considerations of tactics. They want to make England’s need India’s 
opportunity, The Muslim League and the Hindu Mahasabha want 
to exploit this ‘hour of need’ to have the Communal balance of 
power in the Indian Constitution rectified in their favour. It is 
unnecessary to consider this sectional attitude. 

The more important section is the section which wants to make 
England’s hour of need India’s opportunity for emancipation. It 
is difficult to understand what is meant by ‘India’s opportunity.’ 

If it means that India can now by her own inherent strength 
successfully dictate her own terms to Britain then every one must 
admit that ‘India’s opportunity’ is only an empty phrase which has 
no substance in it. The Gandhian method of civil disobedience is 
too exhausting and no one wants to have a second exercise in it. 

If it means that this is an occasion for Indians to invite 
some enemy of Great Britain to emancipate them from British 
domination then it is the greatest snare. Knowing that there is 
every possibility of the guest remaining here and becoming the 
host of the Indians, no Indian whose power of judgment is not 
submerged beneath an excess of emotion could regard such a 
move as wise and prudent. 

No New Masters, Please ! 

The Indenpendent Labour Party believes that as far as one can 
visualize the near future, keeping one’s feet on the firm ground 
of practical politics, the best thing for India is to remain within 
the British Commonwealth of nations and strive to achieve the 
status of equal partnership therein. 


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GREAT BRITAIN SUPPORTED 311 

A good long part of the road to that status has already been 
covered. The part that remains is comparatively shorter and 
is also within reach. To give up this advantage in the hope of 
being emancipated by some supposed friend of India would be an 
act of folly if not of political suicide for the nation. There is no 
knowing what would be the fate of India under a new master. No 
same Indian can advise his countrymen to enter upon a policy so 
speculative and so uncertain if not disastrous, in its consequences. 

Britain’s Duty to India 

While it is in the interest of the Indian people to co-operate 
with Great Britain in this war with Germany, the British also 
must recognise that they owe certain duties to India the fulfilment 
of which cannot long be postponed. 

The first and foremost duty of the British towards India is to 
take steps to prepare Indians to defend their country. 

India is a country which is exposed to attack from all sides. 
Yet to-day India is a most defenceless country in the world. By 
itself it has no resources to withstand any attack from land, sea 
or air. For its defence it is largely if not wholly dependent upon 
the aid of the British Army, British Navy and British Air Force. 
In the Round Table conference it was agreed that the defence 
of India was to be treated as the responsibility of India and yet 
nothing so far has been done to give effect to that principle. Much 
has been talked about opening Military Colleges and Indianizing 
the Officers’ grades. The Independent Labour Party is frankly of 
opinion that these are the least parts of this business of training 
Indians to defend their country. 

The most important part of it is to introduce compulsory 
Military Service in India for all persons within certain ages 
without distinction as to caste, class or creed. Such a policy alone 
can succeed in training Indians for the defence of their Country. 

The magnitude of India’s manpower is beyond measure. If it 
is given the requisite military training it is capable of defending 
not only India but it is capable of defending the whole of the 
British Empire from any aggressor, no matter how strong. It 
is, therefore, astonishing that British Government should not 
think of training the manhood of India for national defence. It 
is astonishing that Government should call Indians to become 
combatants only when the war is won and allow them to lapse 
into unserviceable non-combatants as soon as the war is over. 


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312 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

Compulsory Military Training 

Why is the British Government not prepared to keep the 
Indian people in trim from a military point of view in peace 
as in war is a question which is asked on all sides. There 
is a feeling that the reason why the British do not wish to 
introduce compulsory Military training is that they cannot 
trust Indians with military training. Steps must be taken to 
remove such a suspicion. The British if they wish Indians to 
help them and defend them must learn to trust Indians and 
divert them to the access of military training. Only trust can 
beget trust. 

Similarly recruitment for the Standing Army must be open 
to all communities and the distinction between martial and 
non-martial classes must be done away with. Indianization of 
the officers’ grade must be worked out sincerely and fairly. 

At present only sons of the rich can get admission in Naval 
and Military schools not because they constitute the right 
sort of material but they have the money to meet the high 
cost of training. In other words, the monopolization of the 
higher grades in the military service by the rich and by some 
specially chosen communities must be abandoned with a view 
to inspire trust and confidence in the British Government. 

India’s Status Within Empire 

The second duty of the British towards India is to reassure 
her of the status she is to occupy in the British Empire the 
reluctance of the British Parliament to embody in the preamble 
to the Government of India Act that India is ultimately to 
occupy the status of a Dominion has caused much heart- 
burning. 

The faith of many in the British has received a rude 
shock by realization of the fact that Parliament should have 
refused to give formal sanction to the declaration in favour 
of Dominion Status in 1935 which was made informally but 
authoritatively by Lord Irwin in 1929. The British must see 
that the doubts of India on this point are removed as early as 
possible. India cannot willingly and heartily fight for principles 
if she is not assured that the benefit of these principles would 
be extended to her, when the war is won. 


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GREAT BRITAIN SUPPORTED 313 

This explains the position of the Independent Labour Party. 
The Independent Labour Party supports the appeal made by 
His Excellency the Viceroy to India to help British in this 
war for the reasons given in this statement. 

The Independent Labour Party agrees that this is no time 
for making conditions. At the same time the Independent 
Labour Party believes that the British as well as the Indian 
should know and understand what they are fighting for and 
what they expect of each other .” 1 

• • 


1. : Vividh Vritta; 17th September 1939. 


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9 

WISDOM AND STATESMANSHIP WILL DAWN 
TO PREVENT INDIA FROM BEING DIVIDED 
INTO TWO PARTS 

As per message received on 6th October 1939, Dr. B. R. 
Ambedkar had been invited to see His Excellency Viceroy on 
Monday, the 9th October 1939. 1 Accordingly His Excellency 
the Viceroy granted interview to Dr. Ambedkar on the 9th 
October 1939. In addition, Mr. V D. Sawarkar, Sir Mohammad 
Yakub were also granted interviews. 2 

Thereafter Dr. Ambedkar issued the statement: 

New Delhi, October 10, 1939. 

“The minorities problem will never be solved unless 
Mr. Gandhi and the Congress give up their egoistic and insolent 
attitude towards persons and parties outside the Congress. 
Patriotism is not a monopoly of Congressmen and persons 
holding divergent views to the Congress have a perfectly 
legitimate right to exist and be recognised,” declared Dr. B. R. 
Ambedkar in a statement to the Associated Press prior to his 
departure for Bombay this morning. 

Dr. Ambedkar, who came to Delhi yesterday, had a long 
interview with His Excellency the Viceroy. He is understood 
to have fully acquainted His Excellency with the viewpoint of 
his community vis-a-vis the constitutional advance of India. 
In this connection, Dr. Ambedkar stated that the working of 
the Poona Pact had been far from satisfactory. In the absence 
of multimember constituencies the real representatives of the 
Scheduled Classes were not returned to the legislature. He 
intended to raise this question at the next revision, which he 
anticipated would be earlier than originally planned. Unless 

some method of securing the representation of the real 

representatives of the Scheduled Classes was found, he was 
afraid he would have to insist on separate electorates for his 
community. 

1. : The Bombay Chronicle, dated 7th October 1939. 

2. : The Bombay Chronicle, dated 10th October 1939. 


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WISDOM AND TWO PARTS 315 

Hindu-Muslim Problems 

Referring to the Hindu-Muslim problem, Dr. Ambedkar said 
that he did not believe in the allegations that the Muslims 
were being tyrannized or terrorized in the Congress provinces. 
What the Muslims and the other minorities wanted today 
was a share in the Government of the country and a status 
of equality with governing classes. This was being denied by 
the Congress? which so far had refused to recognise any class 
or community outside its organisation. 

Muslims, he said, had so far been wanting safeguards 
which meant that given the necessary protection they were 
prepared to live with the other communities. Today a demand 
had been raised to divide India into Hindu and Muslim India, 
and if this attitude was allowed to take hold of the masses, 
there was no hope of a united India. Today the solutions lay 
with fne Congress and’ with the majority community, and 
what was required was large heartedness, statesmanship and 
the realisation of realities. 

“Might Be too Late” 

It might be too late tomorrow, said Dr. Ambedkar. The 
problem could be solved and must be solved. The problem 
was no longer that the minorities should be treated fairly 
and squarely. It was that the minorities must be made to 
feel that they were a part and parcel of the Government of 
the country. It had now become a question of dignity and 
self-respect. 

Dr. Ambedkar concluded by saying that today he found 
it very difficult to dissuade his community from merging 
itself in some other larger community, but the continuance 
of the present attitude of the Congress might make his voice 
ineffective. The responsibility of driving away the Scheduled 
Classes to another fold would lie with the Congress. “I hope 
that wisdom and statesmanship will dawn on the Congress,” 
he said, “in time to prevent India from being divided into 
two parts, and Scheduled Classes merging themselves with 
a powerful and influential minority .” 1 

• • 


1. : The Times of India, dated 11th October 1939. 


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10 

VERY NEBULOUS PLAN 
Dr. Ambedkar On Consultative Committee 

Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, Leader of the Independent Labour 
Party has issued the following statement: — 

At a meeting of the Executive Council of the Independent 
Labour Party held on the 21st October, under the Presidentship 
of Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, the following resolution was passed: — 

The Executive Council of the Independent Labour Party 
confirms the statement issued on the situation arising out of 
the present war. 

The Executive Council of the Party has taken into 
consideration the declaration made by H. E., the Viceroy on 
the 27th October. 

In the opinion of the Council a better and a more 
satisfactory response with regards to the aspirations and 
demands of the people of India would have come from His 
Majesty’s Government if the Congress had tried to bring about 
a unity between the different communities and sections in 
this country. 

In view of the assurance given by H. E., the Viceroy 
that immediately after the close of the war His Majesty’s 
Government will enter into consultations with representatives 
of communities, parties and interests, in framing modification 
in the Constitution of India and in view of the fact that 
His Majesty’s Government have declared their adherence to 
Dominion Status as the goal of India and further in view of 
the fact that the development of the war may take such a 
turn that the question of defending India may become more 
important than the question of helping Great Britain the 
Executive Council feels that the present is not the proper 
occasion for withholding its co-operation from Great Britain. 

In the opinion of the Council, however, the proposal 
regarding the formation of a Consultative Committee is 
unsatisfactory. Apart from the question that the proposed 
Committee will have no powers of any sort either to take 


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VERY NEBULOUS PLAN 317 

decisions of to give directions the Committee will be composed 
of a fluctuating body of people. The Council is of opinion that 
the panel system is the most objectionable feature of the 
proposal. Before, however, any final or considered view of 
the Party is expressed on the said proposal, it is necessary 
to have a detailed scheme with particular reference to the 
constitution, function, powers and scope of the proposed 
Committee. — A. P.” 1 


• • 


1. : The Bombay Chronicle, dated 24th October 1939. 


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11 

WE CAN BE A NATION 
ONLY THROUGH SOCIAL AMALAGAMATION 

Discussing the Congress and Muslim League View-point 
with a repesentation of their paper on monday the 5th February 
1940 night, Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, Leader of the Independent 
Labour Party, said, 

“I do not agree with Mr. Gandhi and the Congress when 
they say that India is a nation. I do not agree either with the 
foreign relations committee of the Muslim League when they 
say that Hindus and Muslims could not be welded together 
into a nation. 

“My belief is” he continued “that we are not a nation. But 
my confident hope is that we can be a nation provided proper 
processes of social amalgamation are set forth.” 1 


• • 


1. : The Times of India, Tuesday, 6th February 1940 : 
Reprinted Khairmode, Vol, 9, P. 31 


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12 

SUBHAS CHANDRA BOSE MEETS 
DR. B. R. AMBEDKAR. 

At the time Subhas Bose, who was dethroned from the 
Congress Presidentship, was growing restless. He was trying 
to rally the Indian forces against the British power that was 
engaged in a life-and-death struggle in Europe. He came to 
Bombay and saw Jinnah, Ambedkar and Savarkar on July 
22,1940. 

Subhas Bose was deadly against the acceptance of the 
proposed Federation; and because Dr. Ambedkar was opposed 
to it he must have considered it a rallying point between them. 

After their discussion on the issue of Federation, 
Dr. Ambedkar asked Subhas Bose whether he would put 
up his candidates in the elections against the Congress. He 
replied in the negative. Dr. Ambedkar then asked Subhas 
Bose what the positive attitude of his party would be to the 
problem of Untouchables. Bose had no convincing reply and 
the interview ended.” 1 


• • 


1. : Keer, P. 332. 


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13 

MEANING OF THE CONGRESS DECISION 

“Dr. Ambedkar on Mr. Gandhi’s objections 

To the Editor, 

The Times of India’ 

Sir, Two views are prevalent in Bombay about Mr. Gandhi’s 
performance at the A. I. C. C. meeting held in Bombay. 

One is that the performance of Mr. Gandhi was the cleverest 
something beyond the ken of ordinary mortal, and that by his 
performance Mr. Gandhi has avoided the turmoils of Civil 
Disobedience. To me both these views appear most astounding. 
That the public should form its views on such vital matters in 
such a fascile manner is a sad commentary upon his thinking 
capacity, especially of the Hindu public. I cannot see how 
Mr. Gandhi has by his project avoided Civil Disobedience. It 
is true Mr. Gandhi is asking for liberty to preach against the 
war, to tell people that they should not take part in the war 
or help it’s furtherance either by supplying men or money. But 
what does this mean ? To my mind it means nothing else but 
Civil Disobediance of the Defence of India Act. How the Hindu 
public can interpret Mr. Gandhi’s project as not amounting to 
Civil Disobedience is beyond my comprehension. 

Very Baffling 

What is, however, most baffling in the whole Situation is 
the audacity of Mr. Gandhi to call upon the Viceroy arid the 
absolute certainty of the Viceroy giving him an interview. 
A man with much less intelligence than Mr. Gandhi realise 
that nothing can be more riduculous than to go to the Viceroy 
to ask his permission to break the Defence of India Act. It 
cannot be beyond the knowledge of Mr. Gandhi that he is 
asking something far in excess of what has been conceded 
to conscientious objectors in England or America. All that 
conscientious objector has been given is that he will not be 
forced to join the combatant service He has not been given 
exemption from non-combatant service nor has he been given 
any liberty to preach against the war while war is going on. 
It cannot be beyond Mr. Gandhi to appereciate that while all 


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14 

Dr. AMBEDKAR’S PLAN TO SOLVE 
INDIAN CRISIS 

MUSLIM DEMAND CRITICISED 

“General Chiang Kai-shek has made an appeal to the British 
Goverment to give the people of India, without waiting for 
any demands on their part, real political power as speedily as 
possible. But he has not given any solution of the difficulties 
which have come in the way of such a consummation,” says 
Dr. B. R. Ambedkar in a statement to the Press. 

The difficulty is caused by the Congress not accepting the 
fundamental feature of the August Declaration made by the 
Viceroy that the future constitution of India must have the 
consent of certain important elements in the national life of 
India. Equally, the difficulty is due to the British Government 
not realising what its responsibility is. 

The Congress cannot expect any sane person who known 
anything about conditions in India to agree to the Government 
of the country being placed in the hands of the Hindus majority, 
simply because it is a majority. The Congress chooses to forget 
that Hinduism is a political ideology of the same character as 
the Fascist or Nazi ideology and is thoroughly anti-democratic. 
If Hinduism is let loose — which is what Hindu majority 
means — it will prove a menace to the growth of others who 
are outside Hinduism and are opposed to Hinduism. This is 
not the point of view of Muslims alone. It is also the point of 
view of the Depressed Classes and also of the Non-Brahmins. 

Need To Share Power 

The only antidote is to have a constitution in which 
political power is distributed among the various elements in 
the national life of British India. If India is to be made safe 
for democracy, some arrangement whereby power is shared 
directly — which is another name for checks and balances — 
shall have to be agreed upon before power is transferred 
from British to Indian hands. It is, therefore, quite proper for 
the British Government to tell Indians to produce an agreed 
solution of their constitutional differences before they demand 
any transfer of political power. 


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322 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

purpose. That the Congress is fighting for the cause of the 
country is humbug. The Congress is fighting to obtain the keys 
of power in its own hands. That the Congress is fighting for 
freedom of speech is equally humbug. The Defence of India 
Act has been in existence for one whole year. The toil it has 
taken is detailed by the recent report of the Civil Liberties 
Union. If Mr. Gandhi felt that the Defence of India Act had 
deprived the country of his liberty of speech, why did he not 
start his Civil Disobedience immediately after the Act was 
passed ? Why did he wait for a year ? Why this revolt after 
the Viceroy’s statement that Government must now be carried 
on with the help of the representatives of the minorities and 
other parties in the country? There is no answer. The hardship 
caused by the Defence of India Act is only an excuse putforth 
by the Congress to clothe the torpedoing of the Viceroy’s 
plans and to prevent the minorities and others from getting 
political power. 

British Example 

Such are the springs of Congress action. It may be good 
tactics and, if the Congress succeeds, it will provide additional 
proof that the British, having established a parliamentary 
system of Government will not risk being in the bad books 
of a party that is popular. But, is it statesmanship ? In this 
connection one is reminded of the action of Mr. Asquith in 
1923. In the 1923 elections no — one party had a majority. The 
Conservatives had 255, Labour 191, and Liberals 158. As the 
Leader of the Liberals, three courses were open to Mr. Asquith : 
(i) to support the Conservatives; (ii) to support Labour; or 
(iii) to take office himself relying on Conservative support. 
Appeals were made to Mr. Asquith to enter into a compact with 
the tories and thereby prevent labour from getting office. But 
so far from being tempted by these suggestions Mr. Asquith 
was averse to any such plot. His reasons were first of all that 
it would be seriously harmful to the national interest and an 
incitement to class antagonism for the two middle-class parties 
to combine together to deprive Labour of an opportunity to rule. 
If Congress men deprive the minorities of their opportunity, 
they will, I hope realise that they are purchasing their victory 
at great cost. If they do not realise it now they will realise it 
when parties meet to revise the Constitution. By the action of 


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MEANING OF THE CONGRESS DECISION 323 

the Congress, two things have become abundantly clear. 
First, that British Parliamentary Government is unsuited in 
this country. Secondly, that anyone who leaves an important 
safeguard to a gentlemen’s agreement for its guarantee will 
do so at his peril. 

Dr. B. R. AMBEDKAR .” 1 

• • 


1. : The Times of India, dated 24th September 1940. 


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BLANK 


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DR. AMBEDKAR’S PLAN CRITICISED 325 

But Mr. Amery thinks that there he can stop. Apart from 
the imputation which is attributed to him that he is only 
using the disagreement among Indian political parties as an 
excuse for with-holding the progress of India, it seems to me 
he entirely falls to understand his responsibilities. The British 
Government has not merely the right to call upon Indians to 
produce an agreed solution, but it has got the duty to settle 
the difference if Indians are not able to settle it themselves. 
The duty is cast upon the British Government by reason of the 
fact that the British Government denies to the Indian people 
one important final, and often the only means, of settling a 
constitutional deadlock. That means is no other than the means 
of war. Some will be shocked at this. But let no one forget that 
the English Revolution the French Revolution and the American 
Civil War are all instances when constitutional deadlocks had 
to be solved by war. The employment of this means, the British 
Government to the good of all interdicts. This means it must 
step in to decide a dispute which either by the recalcitrance or 
obstinacy of a party cannot be settled. 

That being the case, the British Government cannot throw 
the responsibility of settting the constitutional difference on 
Indian shoulders as a final escape. It must recognise its ultimate 
responsibility in this matter. That being my view. I think it is 
possible for the British Government to make a declaration on 
the following lines: — 

(1) That, it is proposed to raise India to the status of a 
dominion wihtin three years from the date of peace. 

(2) That, for the speedy consummation of that end the 
elements in the national life of India will be required to 
produce and agreed solution of their constitutional difference 
within one year from the date of the signing of the armistice. 

(3) That, failing agreement, the British Government would 
submit the dispute to an international tribunal for decision. 

(4) That, when such a decision is given, the British 
Government shall undertake to give effect to it as part of 
the dominion constitution for India. 

Such a declaration must satisfy all reasonable people. As far I 
am unable to see, it meets Mr. Jinnah’s point of view and the point 


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326 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

of view of the Depressed Classes that there must be an agreed 
solution of the communal problem. It also meets the Congress 
point of view that no element in the national life of British 
India should be allowed the power to veto the birth of a 
dominion constitution. The argument that we are in the midst 
of the war is no argument against making the declaration. 
Indeed, it is an argument in favour of it. 

The war effort depends on three things : — (1) Sense of 
urgency; (2) appreciation of the purpose of the war ; and 
(3) a concrete conception of how we expect to win the war — the 
need for a realistic and convincing plan. The entry of Japan 
in the war has brought to the Indians the required sense of 
urgency; at any rate, to those who think that working to save 
ourselves from immediate destruction is more important than 
the ultimate goal. The appreciation of the purpose of the war 
is wanting and a declaration by the British Government to 
withdraw its authority in favour of the Indian people will 
bring about that appreciation. 

Should the declaration be accompanied by a National 
Government ? It would be better if it could be done. But 
Mr. Jinnah is making two demands. One is ultimate, namely 
Pakistan. The other is immediate, namely 50 per cent, 
representation in the Cabinet. I can quite understand the 
demand for Pakistan. When Mr. Jinnah says that the Muslims 
are a nation. I feel no reason to quarrel. When Mr. Jinnah 
says the Muslims must have Pakistan because they are a 
nation. I say, have it if you do not thereby run away with a 
large belt of the Hindu population who on your own theory, 
are of a different nationality. 

With regard to Pakistan, I feel like pointing out that Mr. 
Jinnah seems to be counting his chickens before they are 
hatched and reckoning without the host. The N. W. F. is the 
integral part of this Pakistan. Mr. Jinnah must admit that he 
is not the host of the N. W. F. The host is Khan Abdul Gaffar 
Khan. Without his consent, there could be no Pakistan. Rather 
than carry on whirlwind propaganda in favour of Pakistan, 
Mr. Jinnah should spend his time and energy in converting 
Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan. That is, however, a matter for 
Mr. Jinnah to consider. 


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DR. AMBEDKAR’S PLAN CRITICISED 327 

Pakistan Demand 

As I said, I can understand Pakistan. But I cannot 
understand this demand for 50 per cent, representation for the 
Muslim community. Nor can I see how this immediate demand 
of 50 per cent is related to the ultimate demand of Pakistan. 
I am sure this demand of the Muslim League is a monstrous 
thing, and I have no doubt that Lord Linlithgow has done the 
greatest service to India by puting it down. I am definitely of 
opinion that no National Government ought to be established 
in India as an interim measure if it means conceding to 
Mr. Jinnah his claim for 50 per cent representation. After all, 
I cannot believe that the national Government can do more 
in the matter of war effort than what is being done. 

India simply cannot do more. Her capacity has not been 
developed. The fault lies entirely with the British Government. 
They chose not to develop the resources of India in peace 
time, and it is therefore impossible for the Government or the 
National Government to do more than what is being done. If 
she had been fully developed, she could have defended the 
Empire. She cannot now defend herself. She must. Indeed, 
she is compelled to look to England to defend her from the 
impending Japanese invasion; such is her helpless condition. 

The appointment of an Indian as Defence Member may 
be good but is that enough ? Without the means of defence 
at his disposal, what an Indian Defence Minister can do it 
is difficult to understand. I should have thought that the 
wiser course for Indian would be to ask England to sent out 
to India the means of defence which she is hoarding for her 
own safety. Therein lies the immediate interest of India and 
therein also lies the duty of England.” A. P. 1 


• • 


1. : The Times of India : February 27, 1942. 


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15 

INDIANS DESTINY IS BOUND UP WITH 
THE VICTORY OF DEMOCRACY 

“No one can expect consistency from Mr. Gandhi. But 
everybody did and had a right to expect a sense of responsibility 
from him. There can be no doubt that, Mr. Gandhi’s present 
move to launch a mass movement is both irresponsible and 
insane,” observed the Hon. Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, Labour 
Member, Government of India, to a representative of “The 
Times of India,” prior to his departure to Delhi on Monday 
evening.* 

Why does Mr. Gandhi not try the other method, namely, 
bringing about unity among all parties ? Why does he not call 
a conference of leaders of all the different parties to find out 
their demands and settle if there is any dispute?” 

These questions were asked by Dr. Ambedkar. He added : 
“Duty requires that those who do not believe in Mr. Gandhi’s 
movement must take steps to prevent his threatened action 
from taking shape.” 

“It is difficult to understand why Mr. Gandhi should think 
it necessary to enter upon so hazardous a plan of action at so 
perilous a time in the history of India, Dr. Ambedkar said. — 

“To me some points are quite clear. As to India’s reaching 
its political goal, no one can deny that the transfer of power 
from the British to the hands of Indians has been continuous 
and of late rapid — except those who affect a certain degree of 
passion for independence. Barring such passionate patriots, 
it can be said without exaggeration that the British vis-a-vis 
Indians are in the last ditch. That the British do not wish to 
enterench themselves in the last ditch and prevent the political 
advancement of India to its final goal is equally clear. If any 
proof was necessary, the Cripps Proposals are there. They 
conceded Independence and Constituent Assembly both of which 
have been the demands which the Congress has been making. 

After the Cripps Proposals it is hard to believe Mr. Gandhi 
when he says that the British do not intend to transfer power 
to the hands of Indians. It is a positive and deliberate untruth. 


*The 27th July, 1942. 


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INDIANS DESTINY OF DEMOCRACY 329 

“That the Cripps Proposal have fallen through does not, 
to my mind, affect the fact that the British Government are 
committed to independence if Indians prefer it to Domminion 
Status. 

Short-Sighted View 

“One does not know what led the Congress to reject the 
Cripps Proposals even when they conceded Independence and 
Constituent Assembly. If the failure to transfer defence be the 
reason for starting a mass movement, I am sure very few will 
accept the soundness of so short-sighted view. In the first place 
the Congress claimed from the British only a declaration of their 
war aims and did not claim their implementation during the 
war. Secondly, there is no Indian politician so far as I know, 
competent to run the technical and military side of the Defence 
department. Indians have neglected to study this subject. In these 
circumstances, it is foolish to ask for Indian control of defence; for, 
such control when in the hands of an ignorant person can only be 
nominal. Thirdly, when all departments were transferred, as was 
contemplated by the Cripps Proposals, it was childish to quarrel 
over the non-transfer of the Defence Department. Any man with 
commonsense would know that the reserved department could 
not have held out on matters insisted upon by the transferred 
departments if they are necessary and reasonable. This is what 
had happened to the special powers of the Governors when the 
Congress took office in 1937. It is surprising that the Congress 
should have forgotten its own experience in this matter. 

“I am clearly of the opinion that the Congress deserves on 
sympathy in this move for causing disorder. It has rejected the 
best opportunity it was given to serve the country. Looking at 
it from this point of view, I cannot see how this move, proposed 
to be taken by Mr. Gandhi, can be held to be in the interests 
of the country. 

“It seems to me that Mr. Gandhi is merely trying to retrieve 
the prestige which he and the Congress have lost since the war 
started. 

“The Congress can live with prestige in either of two ways. It can 
live by the glamour of direct action or it can live by the partronage 
which office gives. Mr. Gandhi compelled the Congress to give up 
office and he refused to be a party to direct action. The slump 


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330 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

caused in the Congress prestige by this do nothing, policy of 
Mr. Gandhi has been disastrous to Mr. Gandhi and to the 
Congress and this desperate game of Mr. Gandhi is intended to 
retrieve his position and to die covered with glory. 

“This move may be the best way to serve the best interests 
of the Congress party. But it certainly is not the way to serve 
the country. At this juncture such a move is fraught with the 
greatest mischief and is sure to result in the greatest harm to 
the country. 

“There are two ways open to the Congress party to further 
the political advancement of this country ; direct action by the 
Congress and united demand by all parties representing the 
different elements in the national life of the country. Mr. Gandhi 
and the Congress are very keen about the first. It is a stock 
plan. Except Mr. Gandhi, everyone knows that beyond a certain 
limit it is worse than useless and even when it succeeds because 
the British Government, unlike the Nazi Government are not 
addicted to the use of brute force and do not use unmoral means 
to suppress a moral cause. Mr. Gandhi will not admit it. That 
is only because he fortunately has no experince as to how the 
Nazis will deal with his mass Civil Disobedience. No doubt the 
Nazis will give Mr. Gandhi a very short shrift and prove that his 
plan of direct action can be put out of action at the very start. 

Unity among Parties 

“The question that agitates my mind is this : Why does 
Mr. Gandhi resort to his method of direct action carried on single- 
handed by the Congress when it is proved to be so inefficacious ? 
Why does he not try the other method, namely bringing about 
unity among all parties ? Why does Mr. Gandhi not call a 
conference of all leaders of the different parties to find out their 
demands and to settle if there is any dispute about them. This 
is a way worth trying. It is also a way of statesmanship and a 
way which will bring enduring peace among the communities. 
But Mr. Gandhi has never made such an attempt and I have 
never been able to understand his reasons for avoiding this 
way of solving the problem. To say that no settlement can take 
place while the British are there can, to my mind, mean only 
two things : that the leaders of the minority communities are 
tools in the hands of the British or that the Congress thinks it 
would be better to talk of communal settlement after the British 


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INDIANS DESTINY OF DEMOCRACY 331 

Government have withdrawn because the Congress than in 
charge of law and order will be in a better position to dictate 
to the minorities and force a settlement on its own terms. If 
it means the first, then it is a vile and wanton aspersion on 
the character of, the leaders of the minority communities. The 
Congress must drop this selfrighteous attitude and admit that 
even those who differ from it are as good patriots, if not better, 
Settlement of the communal problem, is, I am sure, rendered 
more difficult by such stupid and baseless allegations which the 
Congress and its Press have persistently indulging in against 
the leaders of the minority communities. If it means the second, 
then there is no doubt that the move is a deceitful one. In 
either case, it proclaims the bankruptcy of statesmanship on 
the part of Mr. Gandhi. 

“Mr. Gandhi has not realised one thing which the sooner he 
realises the better. His most advertised political virtues were to 
bring about-Hindu-Muslim unity and to serve the Untouchables. 

“After 20 years, neither the Muslims nor the Untouchables 
trust Mr. Gandhi. This is the greatest tragedy in his life. 

“The sooner he realises this, the better. Even now Mr. Gandhi 
can call the leaders of the minorities for consultation. There is 
no use saying that they are making impossible demands : for, 
it is always open to Mr. Gandhi to call upon them to agree to 
refer the matter to international arbitration. 

“The general public has no cause to support Mr. Gandhi 
in this move which is quite uncalled for. The minorties have 
no reason to join Mr. Gandhi for, he refuses to give them 
an assurance as to their safety and security under the new 
constitution in terms which are explicit and in a spirity which 
has all the hallmark of sincerity. 

“We are living in such perilous times that our duty cannot end 
in merely expressing our disagreement with Mr. Gandhi. Duty 
requires that those who do not believe in his movement must 
take steps to prevent it from taking shape. In the C. D. movement 
of 1930, the Muslims and the Depressed Classes, although they 
did not participate in it, had observed a kind of benevolent 
neutrality towards it. The situation in 1930 was very different 
from what it is now. In the 1930 movement, there were only two 
possibilities. Either political power would have remained with the 


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332 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

British or it would have devolved upon Indians. There was no 
possibility of Japan or Germany stepping in and making itself the 
master of India. The possibility is now staring us in the face. It would 
be madness to weaken law and order at a time when the barbarians 
are at our gates, intending not merely to defeat the British but to 
enslave us for ever. There, in my mind, lies the great difference 
between the C. D. Movement of 1930 and the mass movement now 
threatened by Mr. Gandhi. 

False Claim 

“The Congress and Mr. Gandhi have been arrogating to themselves 
the right to speak in the name of the country. It is a false claim but 
nobody has cared to challenge it. That is because of the feeling that 
so long as the Congress was doing no harm to the interests of the 
country it was a matter of small moment whether it claimed to speak 
in the name of the nation or in the name of the party which it is. 
But when the Congress, being only a party, proposes to launch upon 
a policy which puts the safety, security and even the possibility of 
the independence of the country in jeopardy, it becomes the duty 
to other parties to drop the attitude of benevolent neutrality and 
oppose the Congress when it is throwing the country in chaos and 
inviting certain frustration of the realisation of the political destiny 
of this country which is so near at hand. I wish Indians to realise 
two things : first, that their destiny is bound up with the victory of 
democracy against Nazism and second, that once democracy wins 
nothing in the world can stop India to gain her freedom if Indians 
take care to unite themselves. I am sure Mr. Gandhi’s move is quite 
uncalled for. 

“If democracy wins, no one can stand in the way of India’s 
freedom. The supreme task of Indians at the moment is to see that 
democracy wins. It is not out of love for principle that they should 
do so. It is our country’s future that requires us to do it as our duty. 
Mr. Gandhi is an old man in a hurry. Indians should be careful not 
to do anything in a hurry which they will have to regret in leisure.” 

Dr. Ambedkar left Bombay on Monday night for New Delhi by 
the Frontier Mail. At Bombay Central, he was given a hearty send- 
off by nearly 400 persons, representing the Scheduled Classes, the 
Independent Labour Party, the Municipal Kamgar Sangh and various 
other organisations, and several personal friends and admirers.” 1 

• • 


1. : The Times of India, dated 28th July 1942. 


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16 

HOW TO END INDIAN POLITICAL IMPASSE 

“A plan for ending the political deadlock in India which 
would, at the same time, solve the knotty problems raised 
by the Pakistan issue and pave the way for the formation of 
a national government during the war was adumbrated by 
the Hon. Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, Labour Member, Government 
of India, in an interview to a representative of Tire Times of 
India, at Bombay, on Wednesday.* 

“The Pakistan issue, he said, must be regarded as a 
preliminary issue. No steps can be taken for the framing of a 
constitution unless this issue is settled one way on the other. 
We have, hitherto, depended upon the leaders — Mr. Gandhi 
and Mr. Jinnah — to come to terms on this question, but they 
have failed. It seems to me now that the time has come when 
the decision of this issue must be taken by the people. 

“I do not think Pakistan is an issue which the British 
Government can solve. It would not be right to ask them to 
do it, nor would it be justifiable for them to give a decision 
on it. The Pakistan issue is one of self-determination, and, 
as such, can be decided only by the people affected by it. If 
this position is accepted, it seems that an Act would have 
to be passed by Parliament called’ The Indian Constitution 
Preliminary Provisions Act.’ 

Referendum of Muslims 

In that Act provisions should be made for the following 
points: — 

(a) a referendum of Muslims in the Pakistan areas 
exclusively to determine whether they want severnce of the 
predominantly Muslim areas from the rest of India; (b) a 
separate referendum exclusively of non-Muslims in Pakistan 
areas to determine whether they prefer to go into Pakistan 
or desire to remain in Hindustan; (c) if Non-Muslims decide 
by a majority not to go into Pakistan, a boundary commission 
to be setup to demarcate those districts in which Muslims 
predominate and those in which Non-Muslims predominate. 


* The 12th May 1943. 


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334 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

A schedule should be prepared consisting of a list of the 
districts set apart by the boundary commission as being 
predominantly Muslim districts. This should be called the 
scheduled districts schedule. 

After this is done, the next step is to permit the Muslims to 
decide by a referendum on one of the following alternatives: — 

To consent to allow the scheduled districts to remain part 
of a united India for period of ten years at the end of which 
they may be permitted to sever the scheduled districts and to 
establish Pakistan; or to decide that the Scheduled districts 
be forthwith constitued into a separate state of Pakistan, and 
to permit the State of Pakistan, ant to permit the State of 
Pakistan to be amalgamated with Hindustan on a referendum 
to be taken after ten years on terms agreed upon by Pakistan 
and Hindustan. 


Council of India 

In case the Muslims should decide to have Pakistan 
forthwith there may be established a council of India having 
equal representatives from Hindustan and Pakistan to discuss 
matters of common concern. This Council will be dissolved, if, 
after ten years, the Pakistan State decides to amalgamate with 
Hindustan.” 

Dr. Ambedkar emphasised that the passing of the Act 
suggested by him need not be followed up immediately by a 
referendum. It could be taken after the war. The passing of 
the Act would have, in his view, a salutary effect on Hindus 
and Muslims, because both of them would know that whatever 
constitution came into existence, it would have the consent of 
the people. If matters could be brought to such a state, it would 
pave the way for the formation of a National Government during 
the war. 

“I cannot see,” Dr. Ambedkar concluded, “how a statute like 
this can be avoided. It shall have to be passed in any case, 
now or after peace, but necessarily before constitution making 
is taken in hand. So far as the first referendum is concerned 
it should be made dependent upon Muslims of legislatures of 
Pakistan provinces passing a resolution demanding separation .” 1 

• • 


1. : The Times of India, dated 13th May 1943. 


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JINNAH’S FEARS WILL HAVE TO BE ALLAYED 

New Delhi, July 12, 1944. 

“Welcoming the Rajagopalachari formula, as a sign of’ 
Return to Sanity “Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, Labour Member, 
Government of India, in a Press interview said he nevertheless 
preferred his own scheme outlined in 1943, under which 
Pakistan would be tried as an experiment for ten years and 
if at the end of that period Mussalmans in Pakistan decided 
to amalgamate with Hindustan, they should be free to do so. 

His scheme further contemplated an Act of the British 
Parliament, the setting up of a delimitation commission, and 
the holding of two plebiscites, first of Mussalmans to determine 
whether they wanted partition and second of Non-Muslims, 
to decide whether they would prefer to stay in Pakistan or 
go out of it. 

Boundary Commission 

If Non-Muslims decided to be in Pakistan, then the 
boundaries of Pakistan would be the present provincial 
boundaries, while if Non-Muslims declared themselves opposed 
to staying in Pakistan, a Boundary Commission would be 
set up to demarcate the predominantly Muslim district from 
predominantly Non-Muslim districts. 

Dr. Ambedkar, however, welcomed Gandhiji’s acceptance of 
the principle of the self-determination, but felt that it would 
have been much better if the offer was made by him and it 
would also have been better if the offer was unconditional 
and not subject to conditions such as joining in the demand 
for independence and for the establishment of full National 
Government. 

Jinnah’s Fears 

Dr. Ambedkar could not see on what grounds Mr. Jinnah 
could turn down the offer. The fact that in a plebiscite Hindus 
might influence Muslims to secure their votes against Pakistan 
might be Mr. Jinnah’s ground for rejection of the offer. But 
plebiscite was the only way in which a problem of this kind 
could be decided. Dr. Ambedkar knows of no case in history 
in which such a problem was decided without a plebiscite. 


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336 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

Will Congress Buy Off Muslims ? 

“There are risks in a plebiscite,” Dr. Ambedkar conceded, 
‘but such risks Mr. Jinnah will have to take. Sincerity behind 
the offer is more important than the offer itself. Mr. Jinnah 
may well feel disinclined to accept the offer, knowing that 
Mr. Rajagopalachari and the Congress may have made it 
purely, as a matter of fact, to put him in the wrong and may 
simultaneously with the making of the offer have devised ways 
and means of buying the votes of Muslims. Mr. Jinnah may 
well ask Mr. Rajagopalachari if there was any truth in the 
disclosures made in his defamation case about his intention 
to offer Pakistan to Muslims and then to circumvent it by 
purchasing Muslims in Pakistan to negative the offer. 

“Gandhiji will have to prove his sincerity behind the offer 
and also guarantee that Hindus would not prevent Muslims 
from giving free vote.” 1 

• • 


1. : Free Press of India dated 13th July 1944. 


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18 

FIRST PROPOSAL ON CENTRAL IRRIGATION 
AND WATERWAYS ADVISORY BOARD 

“The Labour Department formed an opinion that it would 
be preferable to create a Central Irrigation and Waterways 
Advisory Board. We want a Board constantly in being and 
having the necessary authority. Our idea of this Board could 
be that it should be composed as follows : 

Chairman : — Waterways and Irrigation Commissioner to the 
Government of India. This officer would have to 
have experience of India and should therefore be 
a senior officer of the Indian Service of Engineers. 
He would have required knowledge both of 
waterways and irrigation, but the strength of the 
Board as an advisory body would be the collective 
strength of the Board and not the individual 
strength of the Chairman. (He would, however, 
in his individual capacity supervise the working 
of the Indian Waterways Research Institution.) 

Members : — There would be 3 permanent members: 1. 
Waterways member 2. Irrigation member 3. Hydro-Electric 
member. 

There would also be part-time members — e.g. the Chief 
Engineers of any Provinces when any matter concerning the 
Provinces was under consideration, the Agricultural Advisor 
to the Government of India when any agricultural matters 
were under consideration. Power would also be given to co-opt 
members for particular matters. 

Note : This constitution leaves the Board without a member 
for gravity irrigation but it is probable that the Chairman 
would always have this knowledge. 

The responsibilities of the Central Irrigation and Waterways 
Board would be : 

1. A general responsibility for initiating, co-ordinating 
and pressing forward schemes of river and waterways 
control with a view to 


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(a) prevention of floods ; 

(b) prevention of erosion ; 

(c) prevention of waterlogging ; 

(d) control of water for irrigation purposes; 

(e) control of water for power purposes ; 

(f) utilisation by cheap power provision of sub-soil 
water for irrigation ; 

(g) dewatering by use of electric power of waterlogged 
areas ; 

(h) regulation of flow of water for navigation purposes. 

2. Preparation in consultation with Provincial Governments 
of water control schemes for all major waterways and 
preparation of project reports. 

3. Organisation of procurement of statistical information 
regarding waterways, and organisation and control of 
subsoil water surveys. 

4. Advice to the Government of India on the principles 
that should be laid down to govern the settlement of 
disputes between Provinces. 

The Board would further require Consulting Engineers on 
such matters as — 

(i) Dam construction; 

(ii) Barrage construction. 

H. C. Prior 
Secretary 
31.8.44 

I agree. The only remark I have to make is whether it 
would not cause considerable delay if we were to consult the 
Provinces now. Can we not consult them at a later stage ? 


B. R. Ambedkar 

9.9.1944” 1 

• • 


1. : Thorat, Pp. 150-151 


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BOTH ARE MAKING SERIOUS MISTAKE 

“A large gathering of his followers and admirers was present 
at the Victoria Terminus to accord a reception to the Hon. 
Dr. Bhimrao R. Ambedkar, Labour Member, in the Viceroy’s 
Executive Council, on his arrival by the Poona Express on 
Tuesday evening.* 

Upon alighting on the platform Dr. Ambedkar was profusely 
garlanded by representatives of several Scheduled Castes and 
other Associations. 

A Procession was then taken out in his honour which 
wended its way from the Station to Rajgrah at Dadar.” 1 

“The Hon. Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, in an interview with a 
Representative of The Times of India on Wednesday,** stated 
that nothing but failure was expected of the Gandhi-Jinnah 
talks. “They did not meet each other, he said,” with empty 
minds, but it is equally true that neither had an open mind.” 

The failure, in the opinion of Dr. Ambedkar, was due to 
among other causes, the obstinacy of both Mr. Gandhi and 
Mr. Jinnah, and the fundamental faults of the formula of 
Mr. Rajagopalachari. He added that no settlement of the Indian 
question could be considered complete without the consent of 
the Scheduled Castes. Neither Mr. Gandhi nor Mr. Jinnah 
was entitled to speak for them. 

“I cannot believe,” observed Dr. Ambedkar in his interview, 
“that Mr. Gandhi and Mr. Jinnah met to bring about a 
communal settlement. The adoption of Gujerati by Mr. Gandhi 
as a medium of communication with Mr. Jinnah when he 
asked for an interview was enough to make me feel that the 
talks would fail. Mr. Jinnah was too elated by the receipt of 
the letter to understand its implication. By writing it Gujerati, 
Mr. Gandhi, in his inimitable way, told Mr. Jinnah that he 
was only a Lohana, whose mother-tongue was Gujerati. 

* The 3rd October 1944. 

** The 4th October 1944. 

1. : The Bombay Chronicle : dated 4th October 1944. 


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340 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

Similarly, Mr. Jinnah knew that the formula of 
Mr. Rajagopalachari was different from the Lahore resolution 
of the Muslim League. Mr. Jinnah knew that Mr. Gandhi was 
seeing him in his personal capacity. Mr. Jinnah also knew 
that Mr. Gandhi was not going to him as a representative of 
Hindus. All these circumstances were quite contrary to the 
conditions upon which Mr. Jinnah was insisting before his 
debacle in Lahore. 

Leaders’ Obstinacy 

“Failure was inevitable. If it was inevitable because of 
the obstinacy of the two men, it was also inevitable because 
of the fundamental faults in the C. R. formula. The formula is 
bad because it tied up the communal question with the political 
question. No political settlement, no communal settlement 
on which the formula proceeds. The formula did not offer a 
solution. It invited Mr. Jinnah to enter into a deal. It was a 
bargain — “If you help us in getting independence, we shall 
be glad to consider your proposal for Pakistan.” 

“The second fault in the C. R. formula relates to the 
machinery for giving effect to any agreement that may be 
arrived at. The agency suggested in the C. R. formula is the 
provisional Government. 

“By consenting to the establishment of a provisional 
Government, the Muslim League would have executed its 
promise to help the Congress to win independence. But the 
promise of the Congress to bring about Pakistan would remain 
executory. Mr. Jinnah, who insists, and quite rightly, that 
the promises should be concurrent, could never be expected 
to agree to place himself in such a position. 

“The second difficulty which Mr. Rajagopalachari has 
overlooked is what would happen if the provisional Government 
failed to give effect to the Hindu part of the agreement. 
Who is to enforce it? The provisional Government is to be a 
sovereign government; not subject to any superior authority. 
If it was unwilling to give effect to the agreement the only 
sanction open to the Muslims would be rebellion. To make 
the provisional Government the agency for forging a new 
Constitution for bringing about Pakistan nobody will accept. 
It is a snare and not a solution. The only way of bringing 
about constitutional changes will be through an Act of 


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BOTH ARE MAKING A SERIOUS MISTAKE 341 

Parliament embodying provisions agreed upon by the important 
elements in the national life of British India. There is no 
other way. 

“There is a third fault in the C. R. formula. It relates to 
the provision for a treaty between Pakistan and Hindustan 
to safeguard what are called matters of common interest 
such as defence, foreign affairs and customs. Here again 
Mr. Rajagopalachari does not seem to be aware of obvious 
difficulties. 

“One does not mind very much that the talks failed. What 
one feels sorry for is that the talks failed without giving us a 
clear idea of some of the questions about which Mr. Jinnah has 
been observing some discreet silence in his public utterances, 
though he has been quite outspoken in his private talks. 

Questions to be clarified 

“These questions are : — 

(1) Is Pakistan to be conceded because of the resolution 
of the Muslim League ? 

(2) Are the Muslims, as distinguished from the Muslim 
League, to have no say in the matter ? 

(3) What will be the boundaries of Pakistan ? Whether the 
boundaries will be the present administrative boundaries of 
the Punjab and Bengal or whether the boundaries of Pakistan 
will be ethnological boundaries ? 

(4) What do the words subject to such territorial 
adjustments as may be necessary which occur in the Lahore 
resolution mean ? What were the territorial adjustments the 
League had in mind? 

(5) What does the word ‘finally’ which occurs in the last part 
of the Lahore resolution mean ? Did the league contemplate a 
transition period in which Pakistan will not be an independent 
and sovereign State ? 

(6) If Mr. Jinnah’s proposal is that the boundaries 
of eastern and western Pakistan are to be the present 
administrative boundaries, will he allow the Scheduled 
Castes, or, if I may say so, the Non-Muslims in the 
Punjab and Bengal to determine by a plebiscite whether 
they wish to be included in Mr. Jinnah’s Pakistan, and 


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342 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

whether Mr. Jinnah would be prepared to abide by the results 
of the plebiscite of the Non-Muslims elements in the Punjab 
and Bengal ? 

(7) Does Mr. Jinnah want a corridor running through the 
U. P. and Bihar to connect up Eastern Pakistan to Western 
Pakistan ? It would have been a great gain if straight questions 
had been put to Mr. Jinnah and unequivocal answers obtained.” 

After stating that the question of Pakistan was not an 
academic one and that discussion on it would have to be 
resumed. Dr. Ambedkar said : “the correspondence that passed 
between Mr. Gandhi and Mr. Jinnah suggests that Mr. Gandhi 
and Mr. Jinnah regard the Hindus and the Muslims as two 
necessary and proper parties to an agreement about Pakistan. 
It also suggests that Mr. Jinnah wants to have Pakistan with 
the provincial boundaries as they are and that without giving 
any say to the Non-Muslims in the Pakistan areas. 

“I am bound to state that in proceeding on these assumption 
both Mr. Gandhi and Mr. Jinnah are making a serious mistake. 
Besides the Hindus and Muslims, the Seheduled Castes 
are a third necessary party. They are a necessary party to 
the dispute. Mr. Gandhi, nor the Congress, nor the Hindu 
Mahasabha is entitled to speak for them. Mr. Jinnah must 
know that he cannot be allowed to walk away with so large 
a population of the Scheduled Castes without their consent. 

“As I am concerned in the question of Pakistan I must 
state my position that the Seheduled Castes could not be 
allowed to be included in Pakistan without their express 
consent either in the western zone or in the eastern zone, 
that consent being given expressly and in most positive terms 
such as a free referendum of their own.” 1 


• • 


1. : The Times of India : dated 5th October, 1944. 


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20 

SAPRU IN THE WRONG 

New Delhi, December 31st, 1944. 

“Dr. B. R. Ambedkar in a statement in reply to Sir Tej 
Bahadur Sapru’s reference to the question of Scheduled Castes 
co-operation with the Conciliation Committee says: — 

“I cannot help being surprised that Sir Tej Bahadur Sapru 
seems to make a grievence of the fact that I refused to co- 
operate with this Committee. I should think that if anybody 
has a grievance, it is myself and not SirTej Bahadur Sapru. 

“I have no doubt that in going about his business he started 
at the wrong end. If he wanted the different parties to the 
communal dispute to agree to appear before the Committee, it 
was not only desirable but necessary that, before finalising the 
personnel of the committees, he should have, in fairness show 
the list of the names to the leaders of the parties concerned 
and invited them to say whether they had any objections 
to those names. Instead of doing that, he first decides the 
personnel at his own sweet will and present the parties with 
a ‘ fait accompli ,’ leaving them to accept or reject it. To say 
the least of it, it is a very unfair, if not preposterous, way 
of appointing a Committee and expecting people to repose 
confidence in it. 

Names Not Submitted 

“When Sir Tej Bahadur Sapru approached me, he never 
gave me an inkling as to the sort of persons he was going to 
have in the Committee. We discussed only the general issue, 
namely, whether it was not desirable for an impartial body 
of people to consider the different demands put forward by 
different communities and to evaluate them and state which 
of those demands were reasonable and which were not. I 
certainly did expect that after that Sir Tej Bahadur Sapru 
would let me have the names of persons he intended to put 
on the Committee. He never did that. 

“In these circumstances, if I told Sir Tej Bahadur, I was not 
satisfied with the personnal of the Committee and, therefore, 
I could not undertake to co-operate with it. I do not think I 
am in the wrong. 


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344 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

Simon Parallel 

“Sir Tej, at any rate, cannot say that my attitude is 
unre sponsible. Everybody knows how in 1929 Sir Tej himself 
took the lead in opposing and non-co-operating with the 
Simon Commission on the ground that the personnel of that 
Commission was not in accordance with the general sentiments 
of the people of this country. 

“Sir Tej Bahadur Sapru while he mentioned the fact that I 
had declined to co-operate, did not mention the other portion 
of my letter in which I have stated that if he was prepared 
to reconstitute his Committee so as to give me satisfaction, 
I was still prepared to co-operate with him. Evidently, he 
thinks he can get on with the Committee by examining the 
literature and resolutions issued by the different communities 
setting out their demands and getting a miscellaneous crowd 
from the various communities to co-operate with him. He is, 
of course, welcome to do that. All I want to say is this, that 
he has made a grievance against me for which, I have no 
doubt there is no cause, and if there is a cause for it, he is 
solely responsible for it.” — A. P.” 1 


• • 


1. : The Free Press of India, dated 1st January 1945. 


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21 

CONTROL AND UTILISE THE MAHANADI 
TO THE BEST ADVANTAGE 

LETTER BY DR. AMBEDKAR, CABINET MEMBER, 
LABOUR REGARDING HIRAKUND DAM 

Letter by Dr. Ambedkar, 

Department of Labour 

Dear Lord Wavell, 

Would you refer to paragraph 2 of your letter of the 
20th January ? I have had this matter examined by my 
Department in consultation with Finance Department. Khosla 
has reported that the Sambalpur Dam must definitely form 
part of the Mahanadi Scheme, that the geological report is 
satisfactory but that he is not yet able to estimate the cost 
or the revenue accruing from either the dam or the scheme 
as whole. He considers, however that it is so certain that the 
Sambalpur Dam will form part of the Mahanadi Scheme that 
it is quite legitimate to lay the foundation stone in March. 
The Finance Member is all in favour of schemes of this sort 
and does not consider that the laying of the foundation stone 
will involve any specific commitments though he considers — 
as I do — that if a decision to lay a foundation stone is taken 
we can authorise the Governor to state that the Government 
are determined to control and utilise the Mahanadi to the 
best advantage of the country and that in this matter the 
Provincial Government hopes to receive all reasonable support 
from, the Central Government provided that the project plans 
now under preliminary preparation show, as is expected that 
it is worth while to go on with the scheme, 

In your letter you have said that we might perhaps aim at 
a decision early enough to enable Lewis to lay the foundation 
stone before he hands over charge. I think the only decision 
we can take is that we will assist Orissa in carrying forward 
the Mahanadi Scheme subject to the proviso indicated above. 
I think that this decision justifies us in going ahead with 
laying a foundation stone provided that with this assurance the 
Governor himself is prepared to do so from the Orissa angle. 


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346 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

My Department has shown this letter to Finance 
Department who agree with it. 


Yours Sincerely, 
B. R. Ambedkar 
Member Labour 
February 1946” 1 

His Excellency 

the Right Honourable Viscount Wavell. 

Dr. Ambedkar’s this letter was in response to following 
letter by Viceroy Viscount WAVELL. 

The Viceroy’s House 
20th January 1946 

Dear Dr. Ambedkar, 

It is very satisfactory that Madras and Orissa have been 
able to come to terms about the Machkund case. I have 
telegraphed to both the Governors asking them to see that 
the agreement is confirmed as soon as possible. 

I understand from Menon that in the course of negotiations 
the desirability of making an early start with the Mahanadi 
scheme by the contruction of a dam at Sambalpur was 
mentioned. Orissa is a very poor and backward Province, 
and if it is technically sound to construct the Sambalpur 
Dam — a point on which I think we should be able to satisfy 
ourselves at once — I hope we shall be able, subject to Rowlands 
agreement, to go ahead almost immediately. You know my 
interest in water control and irrigation, and I should like to 
be kept in touch with progress. Perhaps we could aim at a 
decision early enough (if we decided to go ahead) to enable 
Lewis to lay the foundation stone before he hands over charge 
on the 31st March. 

Yours sincerely, 
Wavell 

The Hon’ble 

Dr. B. R. Ambedkar 


1 Thorat, Pp 172-174. 


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WE MUST WORK IN INDIA FOR CREATING 
CO-OPERATIVE SPIRIT AMONG ALL PARTIES 

“London, October 22, 1946. (Reuter) 

In the course of an interview to Reuter’s Correspondent 
on the Indian constitutional situation, Dr. Ambedkar said : 

“It is quite definite that they are not friends, they are not 
even allies.” He added, “We know people who are allies though 
not friends, but the Muslim League and the Congress Party 
have gone into the Provisional Government as adversaries. 
What can we expect ? One can hardly call that a coalition. It is 
really, in a sense, Government of one country by two nations” 

Dr. Ambedkar said that this was not the time for party 
Government in India. “We are practically in the midst of a 
Civil war”, he asserted. “You may not like to call it a civil 
war, but that is the spirit behind it. At this time there should 
be a real coalition Government consisting of all parties at the 
Centre just as you in Britain had during the war. 

I think the coming ten years are so critical in the destiny 
of India that unless all parties work together we will not be 
able to put the country any way you like.” 

“We must remember that we shall have to create such a 
feeling in India,” continued Dr. Ambedkar. 

“Hereafter, there will be no such thing in India as section 
93 of the Government of India Act of 1935. Section 93 was 
really a Constitutional brake upon anarchy, however, much 
it was hated by the people.” Dr. Ambedkar said and added : 
“There will be no British troops. It is in the light of these 
circumstances that we must work in India for the purpose of 
creating that co-operative spirit among all parties and people 
that alone can help us in future.” 

Dr. Ambedkar confessed himself unhappy both about the 
present and the future. “After all,” he asked, “What had we 
achieved and what is it that the future has in prospect? — 
two nations dividing the country geographically into three 
fragments.” 

“Which way does hope lie?” I asked Dr. Ambedkar. 


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348 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

“I have no idea,” he answered, ‘hut if I had arranged matters 
I would have proposed reintroduction of the Government of 
India Act of 1935.” 

“That Act,” he said “presupposed a United India and it 
might have altered the communal part of the situation in a 
manner that would have given a greater protection to certain 
minorities who felt they did not have enough protection.” 

“Then I would have said, work for the United Constitution 
for ten years. At the end of ten years, have a Constituent 
Assembly and divide country any way you like.” 

“If the British had done that,” declared Dr. Ambedkar, 
“they could have said our greatest achievement has been the 
unity of India, and although we have made many mistakes 
and done many wrongs, the unity we have achieved has more 
than compensated for the wrongs and errors of 150 years and 
we intended to handover the inheritance intact.” 

“I have come over on a political mission to see Prime 
Minister Clement Atlee, Mr. Winston Churchill, and others,” 
Dr. Ambedkar said, “ I want to put my point of view with what 
success I cannot say, as to the injustice the Cabinet Mission 
and the Labour Party have done to the Scheduled Castes. I 
think personally the Cabinet Mission was misinformed.” 

Now, concluded Dr. Ambedkar, “in the reconstituted Indian 
Provisional Government, we have the Labour Government 
instead of allowing the Scheduled Castes to be nursed by 
their own mother that is by having two representatives in 
the Cabinet appointed two wet-nurses in shape of Mr. Jinnah 
and Mr. Gandhi.” 

Dr. Ambedkar is having a memorandum printed setting 
out the case for the Scheduled Castes and will wait until this 
is ready before approaching political leaders.” 1 


• • 


1. : The Bombay Chronicle, dated 24th October 1946. 


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23 

UNLESS THESE POINTS WERE CLEARED 
NO LEAD ON PARTITION ISSUE 

New Delhi, April 27, 1947. 

Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, President of the Scheduled Castes 
Federation, in an interview here today, said that the Federation 
had not come to any conclusion on the question of the partition 
of Bengal and the Punjab nor had it any desire to prejudge 
the issue. 

If the Hindus wanted partition, he said, they would have 
to satisfy the Scheduled Castes on the following points : — 

Firstly, what protection are the Hindus prepared to offer to 
the Scheduled Castes under the new Constitution as against 
what the Muslim League would be ready to offer? Secondly, 
where will the boundary line be drawn? Thirdly, will there be 
provision for an exchange of population? And fourthly, what 
provisions are the Hindus prepared to make for the economic 
rehabilitation of the Scheduled Castes who, as a result of 
division, will be left within the Muslim Zone and who will 
have been brought over to the Hindu Zone as a result of an 
exchange of population? 

Unless these points were cleared, Dr. Ambedkar added, it 
would not be possible for the Federation to give a clear lead 
on the issue of the partition of Bengal and the Punjab. — 
A. P. I.” 1 


• • 


1. : The Times of India, dated 28th April 1947. 


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24 

GOVERNMENT OF INDIA WILL NOT 
RECOGNISE ANY PRINCELY STATE AS 
SOVEREIGN INDEPENDENT 

There was a move for declaring India as an Independent 
Sovereign Country and there was a question, what would be the 
position of the Princely States? The Princely States were of the 
opinion that they will also have Independent Sovereign States, 
as they are also under the control of British Govt. ‘Travancore’ 
and ‘Hyderabad’ were the main Princely States. The Cabinet 
Mission also upheld this view but Dr. B. R. Ambedkar opposed the 
view and issued a statement showing how the Cabinet Mission’s 
view was wrong for the nation. He further stressed that all the 
Princely States should be merged in India, in the interest of the 
sovereignty of the country. The statement read as follows: Editors. 

“The only way by which the Indian States can free themselves 
from Paramountcy is by bringing about a merger of sovereignty 
or suzerainty. This can happen only when the Indian States join 
the Indian Union as constituent units” says Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, 
former member of the Viceroy’s Executive Council and a leading 
constitutional lawyer, in a statement opposing the declaration of 
independence by certain States. The Indian States, Dr. Ambedkar 
says, will be sovereign to the extent they are, but they cannot 
be independent so long as they remain under the suzerainty, 
as they must, of the Crown, if India becomes independent. The 
States should realise, he adds, that their existence as Sovereign 
Independent States will not be worth fine years’ purchase. 
Dr. Ambedkar goes on, the basis of the claim made by the States 
for a right to declare themselves independent lies in the Statement 
of May 12, 1946 issued by the Cabinet Mission, in which they 
say that the British Government could not and will not in any 
circumstances transfer Paramountcy to an Indian Government 
which means that the rights of the States which follow from 
their relationship to the Crown will no longer exist, and that all 
the rights surrenderd by the States to the Paramount power will 
return to the States. 

Mischievous Doctrine 

The doctrine that Paramountcy cannot be transferred to an 
Indian Government, is a most mischievous doctrine, and is based 


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GOVERNMENT OF INDEPENDENT 351 

upon an utter misunderstanding of the issue involved. After 
the passing of the Statute of Westminster, which earned out 
Canada, Australia, South Africa, and Ireland as separate 
dominions, the Crown, in the exercise of it prerogative rights, 
acts on the advice of the Cabinet of the Dominion concerned. It 
is bound to do so. It cannot do otherwise, it follows that when 
India becomes Dominion, the Crown will be bound to act in 
the exercise of its prerogative rights; namely Paramountcy on 
the advice of the Indian Cabinet. The protogonist of the theory 
that Paramountcy cannot be transferred to the Government 
of India rely on the omission from the Government of India 
Act, 1935, of the provisions of Section 39 of the Government 
of India Act, 1833 (they were reproduced in Section 33 of the 
Government of India Act, 1915-19) according to which the civil 
and military Government of India (as distinguished from the 
civil and military Government of British India) is vested in 
the Governor-General-in-Council and argue that the omission 
is evidence in support of the conclusion that Paramountcy 
could not be transferred to an India Government. 

Under the Constitutional Law of the Empire, it is only 
when a country has become a Dominion that it can claim the 
right to advise the Crown and the fact that before it becomes 
a Dominion the Crown was differently advised is no bar to its 
claim. The fact the Government of India was not in the past 
permitted to advise the Crown in the exercise of its rights 
of Paramountcy does not mean that there is any inherent 
constitutional incapacity which disentitles her from claiming 
the right to advise. 

Paramountcy Cannot Lapse 

So far as, I have dealt with one part of the Cabinet 
Mission’s statement where they say that the Crown could 
not transfer Paramountcy to an Indian Government. 
According to the Cabinet Mission, Paramountcy will lapse. 
This is a most astounding statement and runs contrary to 
another well established principle of Constitutional Law. 
According to this principle, the King cannot surrender 
or abandon his prerogative rights. If the Crown cannot 
transfer Paramountcy, the Crown cannot also abandon it. 
The validity of this principle was admitted by the Privy 


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352 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

Council in the Queen vs Edulji Byramji case, decided in 1840 
and reported in 5 Moore’s Privy Council cases (p. 276) wherein 
they said (p. 294) that the Crown could not even by charter 
part with its prerogative. It is, therefore, obvious that the 
statement by the Cabinet Mission that the Crown will not 
exercise Paramountcy is contrary to the Constitutional Law 
by which the Empire is governed. 

Ultimate Sanction 

Again, a statute passed by the Parliament of Great Britain 
abrogating Paramountcy would be improposed. The reason is 
obvious. The army is the ultimate sanction for Paramountcy. 
This Army has been the India Army for which British India 
has paid all long. Without the aid of this powerful army 
maintained by British India and placed at the disposal of 
the Crown through the agent, the Viceroy and the Governor- 
General of India, the Crown would never have been able to 
build up and conserve the powers of Paramountcy. These 
powers are of the nature of a trust held by Crown for the 
benefit of the people of India, and it would be a gross abuse 
of power on the part of the British Parliament to pass a 
Statute distroying that trust. 

Dr. Ambedkar, in conclusion, says, whatever the choice of 
the Indian States may be, the duty of the people of India is 
clear. On their behalf, the Interim Government should notify 
his Majesty’s Government that the British Parliament has no 
right to pass any law, abrogating Paramountcy and that any 
clause to that effect in the forthcoming legislation, conferring 
Dominion States on India, should be treated by the people of 
India as repugnant to their sovereignty and, therefore, null 
and void, and to declare that the Government of India will 
never recognise any Indian State as Sovereign Independent. 

• • 


1 : The Times of India, dated 18th June 1947 
Reprinted : Khairmode, Vol. 8, Pp. 195-198. 

* For comments on the Statement see Appendix-IX and X. 


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25 

BERAR WILL REVERT TO NIZAM ON 
AUGUST 15 

Dr. Ambedkar’s Interpretation Of New India Bill 

The treaty by which Berar was ceded to the British would 
lapse and the territory revert to the Nizam on August 15, 
when His Majesty’s suzerainty over India would cease, said 
Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, referring to the replies given by Mr. V. 
P. Menon, Reforms Commissioner, at a press conference last 
week at Delhi. 

“The view expressed by Mr. Menon, if it is correct, 
“Dr. Ambedkar added,” would no doubt serve as a great solace 
to the people of Berar who have been anxiously waiting to know 
what their fate is going to be under the new dispensation. 

“The question is : Is the view expressed by him correct? 
In my judgment, having regard to the provisions contained 
in section 7 of clause 2 of the Bill, the view expressed by Mr. 
Menon is quite untenable. 

“Sub-section 1 (B) of section 7 says that as from the appointed 
date, that is, August 15, not only the suzerainty over India 
by His Majesty will lapse but all powers, rights, authority of 
jurisdiction exercisable by His Majesty in or in relation to Indian 
States by treaties, grants, usage, sufferance or otherwise will 
also lapse. What does this mean when applied to the treaty 
with regard to Berar ? Obviously, it means that the treaty by 
which Berar was ceded to the British will also lapse. 

Clause 2 Applies to Berar 

“If this construction of the clause is correct, then the effect 
of this sub -section is that on August 15 Berar will revert to 
the Nizam. To argue that this clause does not apply to Berar 
because Berar has not been specially mentioned is to read into 
the sub -section A limitation which is not there. The sub -section 
is so general that specific mention of Berar is unnecessary. 
Specific mention of Berar would be necessary only if the 
intention was to save it from the effect of the general clause 
and not otherwise. As there is no such saving clause, the 
sub-section as it stands must have full operation in Berar, as 
well as other territories belonging to Indian States and which 


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354 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

forms part of the British India by reason of treaty or 
agreement. One is, therefore, bound to say that Mr. V. P. 
Menon has missed the import of sub-section 1 (B) of section 7 
and hereby created a wrong impression by his answers at 
the press conference. 

Transfer of Territories 

“It is equally incorrect to suggest as was done at the said 
conference by Sardar Patel that the position of Berar will 
stand as it is until a new agreement is made with the Nizam. 
The reason is that the standstill clause which is sub-clause 
(c) of sub-section (1) of section 7 makes a distinction between 
treaties and agreements which refer to transfer of territories 
and those which relate to arrangements regarding customs, 
transport, communications, posts and telegraphs or other like 
matters. It saves treaties of the latter class only. It does not 
save any agreement which relates to transfer of territory. The 
agreement relating to Berar is an agreement which relates to 
transfer of territory and as such is not saved from the general 
effect of sub-clause 1 (b) of section 7. 

“Nobody would be more happy than myself if it was shown 
that the construction I put upon section 7 was wrong. All 
I want to say is that the people of India and the people of 
Berar should take note of section 7 as it stands and should 
have the matter cleared up by a direct question to the Prime 
Minister, Mr. Atlee, when the Bill comes up for discussion in 
the House of Commons.” — A.P” 1 


• • 


1. : The Times of India, dated 8th July 1947. 


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26 

IF BOUNDARY DRAWN IS NOT NATURAL IT 
WILL PUT THE SAFETY AND SECURITY OF 
THE PEOPLE OF INDIA IN GREAT JEOPARDY 

New Delhi, July 20, 1947. 

Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, in a statement today said that the 
partition of the Punjab and Bengal was not a local problem 
to be left to the people of these two provinces, but an “All- 
India problem” for it involves the fixation of the Frontiers 
of Pakistan and India and must be determined primarily by 
“considerations of facility of defence and administration.” 

Dr. Ambedkar said : “From the reports of controversies 
going on in the newspapers regarding the fixation of the 
boundary line betwen the West Punjab and the East Pubjab 
and between West Bengal and East Bengal and of the gists 
of the memoranda submitted to the Boundary Commission 
by the Muslims and Non-Muslims, it becomes clear that the 
results of the Boundary Commission may be disastrous to 
the country. 

“In the first place, the problem is treated as though it was 
local problem, to be left to the people of the Punjab and Bengal 
to fight among themselves. In the second place, the problem 
is regarded by the local people as one of land-grabbing. In 
this scramble for land, a frantic search is being made to find 
out Muslim enclaves in Non-Muslim areas and Non-Muslim 
enclaves in Muslim areas with a view to push the national 
boundaries backwards and forwards and to bring as many 
Muslims from Non-Muslim area to Muslim area and as many 
Non-Muslims from Muslim area to Non-Muslim area. 

“Both these methods of approach are, to my mind, wrong 
and misleading. The shifting of national boundaries with 
reference to enclaves could have been justified if it was 
accepted that Pakistan and Hindustan should be homogeneous 
states. This has, however, not been the basis of partition, 
as is clear from the fact that neither the Congress nor the 
Muslim League has stipulated for transfer of population. No 
matter how the national boundaries are chopped and changed, 
a large number of Non-Muslims will remain in Pakistan 
and an equally large number of Muslims will remain in 


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356 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

India. Consequently, the attempt to shift boundaries merely 
to include more of one’s fellow members is, I think, utterly 
misdirected. 


Defence 

Secondly, the problem would have been local, if Pakistan 
and India were not two Sovereign Independent States. The 
fact, however, is that they are, and each will have to defend 
itself against encroachment or invasion, should an occasion 
arise. 

In this view of the matter, the partition of the Punjab and 
Bengal is not a local problem but an all-India problem, for it 
involes the fixation of the frontiers of Pakistan and India and 
must be determined primarily by considerations of facility of 
defence and administration. 

In the light of these considerations, the Government of 
Pakistan and that of India would not only be the proper 
parties before the Boundary Commission, but they will be 
the necessary parties. The boundaries between Pakistan and 
India being the frontiers of India, it was for the Defence 
Department of the Government of India to have insisted that 
the Boundary Commission should have military officers as- 
assessors which is always done in the settlement of frontiers 
between two States. 

Not only has the Defence Department of the Government 
of India failed to do so, it has not even cared to appear before 
the Boundary Commission to present the case from defence and 
administration points of view. It seems to have forgotten that 
the maintenance of the frontier will not be the responsibility 
of the East Punjab or West Bengal. From first to last, it will 
be the responsibility of the Government of India and it was, 
therefore, the primary concern of the Defence Department to 
have its say in the fixation of the frontiers. 

Natural Boundaries 

No one can deny that from the point of view of defence and 
administration, boundaries between Pakistan and India must 
be natural boundaries, i.e. they must run along a river or a 


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BOUNDARY GREAT JEOPARDY 357 

mountain. From the nature of contentions raised in the 
memoranda submitted to the Boundary Commission, it is 
clear that these factors will not receive the considerations 
they deserve. 

They are slurred over and not even mentioned. The danger 
is that the forntiers between Pakistan and India that are likely 
to emerge from the labours of the Boundary Commission, 
however, satisfactory they may be from the standpoint of the 
communities immediately affected, will be most unsatisfactory 
from the point of view of India. 

If my fears come true and the boundary drawn by the 
Commission is not a natural one, it needs no prophet to say 
that its maintenance will cost the Government of India very 
dearly and it will put the safety and security of the people 
of India in great jeopardy. I hope, therefore, that late as it 
is, the Defence Department will bestir itself and do its duty 
before it is too late.” — A.P.I.” 1 

• • 


1. : The Free Press Journal, dated 21st July 1947. 


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27 

INDIAN CITIZENS HAVE EQUAL RIGHTS 
BEFORE THE LAW 

Dr. Ambedkar’s interview with Alan Campbell: — 

“Government House, New Delhi, 
Saturday, 24th April, 1948” 

“They and I dined tonight amid fairy-lights on the lawn 
of the Delhi Gymkhana Club. Our host was Shri Krishna 
(well-known Delhi political correspondent), who had collected 
an interesting party. The principal guest was Dr. Ambedkar, 
the Minister for Law, the Leader of the Untouchables, and a 
colourful personality in Indian politics over the past twenty 
years. He is now one of the principal figures associated with 
preparation of India’s new Constitution which finally removes 
the stigma of Untouchability from the Statue book. As part 
of his emancipation, Dr. Ambedkar, himself is Untouchable, 
has only recently married a lady doctor who is a Brahmin. 
The custom of centuries cannot be uprooted overnight, and 
the event has caused quite a stir. His wife was with him this 
evening, but, as it is the custom with so many Indian ladies 
on social occasion had little to say. 

Dr. Ambedkar himself was in expansive viewing, gave 
us a revealing analysis of some of the features of the new 
Constitution. He pointed out, instance, that the special powers 
reserved for the judiciary under its provisions were greater 
than enjoyed by the United States Supreme Court. As evidence 
of the enduring quality of the 1935 Act, said that some two 
hundred fifty of its clauses has been embodied as they stood 
into the new Constitution. 

We had a discussion on Cabinet Government, Dr. Ambedkar 
referred to the complaint that the present system was 
working too slowly in India. He thought that where the 
matter of policy affecting two department was involved the 
issue should at once be settled as between the Ministers 
concerned. He comments the Ceddes proposals and the 
system of non-departmental Cabinet chiefs with groups of 
departmental deputies under them. He said he was sorry. 
Mountbatten was leaving before the Constitution was finally 


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INDIAN THE LAW 359 

passed. The Commonwealth issue, he felt, was likely to be 
decided outside the Constituent Assembly.” (Mission With 
Mountbatten. Pp. 318-20 by Alan Campbell — Johnson). 

“The Indian Constitution, which was under active 
preparation and discussion during Lord Mountbatten’s term of 
office, is a synthesis of the great Western charters of liberty. 
The obvious hiatus between the vision of this document and 
the realities of Indian life does not destroy the validity of the 
vision. It represents a great tribute to the liberalising influence 
of British thought, and is a fundamental attack upon the aims 
and aspirations of communalism. The Indian Constitution offers 
fresh hope for the eighty million Untouchables, who under 
purely Hindu dogma were parials polluting food with their 
shadow, but are now Indian citizens with equal rights before 
the law. It is significant that one of the principal personalities 
in Nehru’s Government, and as such a prominent personality 
in the preparation and sponsorship of the Constitution, is 
Dr. Ambedkar, the well- known leader of the Untouchables.” 1 

• • 


1. : Mission with Mountbatten, Pp. 361-362, by Alan Campbell-Johnson. 
Reprinted : Khairmode, Vol. 10, Pp. 36-38. 


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28 

ONE OFFICIAL LANGUAGE 
FOR CENTRE AND PROVINCES 

Bombay, October 15th, 1948. (API) 

Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, India’s Minister for Law, has expressed 
the opinion in a statement submitted to the Linguistic Provinces 
Commission, that the demand for the reconstitution of provinces 
on linguistic basis should be accepted but the Indian Union’s 
Constitution should provide that the official language of every 
Province shall be the same as the official language of the Central 
Government. 

It was only on that footing which was necessary to provide 
against the break-up of India’s unity that he was prepared to 
accept the demand for linguistic provinces, Dr. Ambedkar said. 

“A Linguistic Province produces what democracy needs un- 
social homogeneity.” Dr. Ambedkar said, “The reason why in 
a heterogeneous society democracy cannot succeed is because 
power, instead of being used impartially is used to the detriment 
of another.” 

Coming to the question of Maharashtra Province Dr. Ambedkar 
quoted figures showing its size and population, and said the 
figures left no doubt that Maharashtra would not merely be a 
viable Province, but a strong Province in point of area, population 
and revenue. He disapproved of the idea of sub-Provinces in 
Maharashtra, which would be a perpetual burden in normal times 
and a source of weakness in an emergency. 

Replying at great length to several points made in recent 
newspaper articles against the inclusion of Bombay in the proposed 
Maharashtra Province, Dr. Ambedkar argued that Maharashtra 
and Bombay were not merely interdependent, they were really 
one and integral and severance between the two would be fatal 
to both. “If the Commission can accept the arguments urged for 
the separation of Bombay from Maharashtra, it must be equally 
prepared to recommend the separation of Calcutta from West 
Bengal.” Dr. Ambedkar said, because “The Maharashtrians can 
at least claim that they have supplied labour if not capital for 
the trade and industry of Bombay; the Bengalis cannot even say 
this.” 1 


• • 


1. : The Sunday Chronicle, dated 17th October 1948. 


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29 

INDIA AND THE BRITISH COMMONWEALTH 

FINANCE MINISTER No. 8195-Of/48 

india New Delhi, 

November 19, 1948. 

My dear Ambedkar, 

Many thanks for sending me your note on India and the 
British Commonwealth. I have read it with great interest as 
an able and lucid analysis of a difficult problem. 

The note is being returned herewith. 


Yours sincerely, 
Sd/Illegible 

The Hon’ble Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, 

Minister for Law, Government of India, 

New Delhi. 


(See the note overleaf — Editors) 


As regards this paper, the then Officer on Special Duty, noted that the 
paper was found in the record received by the Government from the 
Administrator General, Maharashtra State in 1979. 

The Note of ‘India and the British Commonwealth’ was sent by 
Dr. Ambedkar to the Finance Minister of India, which was returned by 
him with a covering letter from the office. The signature is, however, 
illegible . — Editors . 


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362 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

India and the British Commonwealth 

I. The Necessity for a Link 

In considering the question of establishing a link between 
India and the British Commonwealth there are two questions 
which arise for decision. First is, should India sever all her 
connections with the British Commonwealth and assume the 
status of an independent Sovereign State ? The second is that 
if India is not to sever all her connections with the British 
Commonwealth, what should be the relationship between 
India and the British Commonwealth ? 

2. On the first question there seems to be hardly any 
difference of opinion. Barring a few extremists, the majority 
are against India severing her connection with the British 
Commonwealth. It is not that only India is anxious to maintain 
this link, it is desired by the British Commonwealth. It is 
in the interest of the Commonwealth that India should not 
sever her connection with it. The link between India and the 
Commonwealth is vital to the Commonwealth. The defence 
of the Commonwealth depends upon its link with India. At 
the same time it would not do for India to adopt an attitude 
of indifference. For she too cannot do without link with the 
Commonwealth. There are two things which India needs and 
which are vital to her existence as a free country capable of 
shaping her destiny in her own independent way without 
dictation from outside and of having an effective voice in the 
affairs of the world. Free India cannot be free India unless she 
reaches this position. This position India cannot reach unless 
her industrialization becomes an accomplished fact and unless 
she develops in a military strength both adequate for defence 
as well as for offence. For achieving this objective India must 
obtain technical equipment which she has not and which she 
cannot get without outside help. Such outside help can come 
more readily from the British Commonwealth than from any 
other quarters. It is, therefore, in the interest of India that 
she should have a link with the Commonwealth. 

II. National Status vs. Dominion Status 

3. The solution of the second question is, however, not quite 
so easy. It raises many problems. India has achieved a national 
status. Should she exchange it for a Dominion Status ? This is 


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INDIA AND COMMONWEALTH 363 

the first problem we have to tackle. From a purely formal 
point of view there need be no difficulty. Formally there is 
no difference between National Status and Dominion status. 
Dominion Status is not a subordinate status in any manner 
whatsoever. Each Dominion is not merely autonomous but 
independent and is equal in status to any other Dominion. 
In the scheme of the Commonwealth, the United Kingdom is 
only one of the Dominions. How autonomous and independent 
each Dominion is, will be found by reference to two events of 
recent occurance. One relates to South Africa. King Edward 
VIII continued to be the King of South Africa for two days after 
he had ceased to be the King of the rest of the Commonwealth. 
The other relates to Ireland. In the last war when all the 
Dominions were at war, Ireland decided to remain neutral. 
In my opinion no greater proof is necessary to show how real 
and how effective is the autonomy and independence of each 
Dominion. It is as good as National Status. 

4. Question is, can India now accept Dominion Status 
after having acquired National Status ? I think it cannot. 
The reasons are obvious. They are both constitutional and 
psychological. The essentials of Dominion Status are three — 
(1) Recognition of common loyalty to the King, (2) Recognition 
of the King as the head of the Dominion acting through the 
Governor-General appointed by him, (3) Oath of allegiance 
to the King by members of Dominion Parliament. If the 
Constitution of every Dominion is examined, it will be found 
that these three elements are embedded in it. 

5. The Draft Constitution for free India which is being 
considered by the Constituent Assembly does not recognize 
any of these elements. The preamble of the Draft Constitution 
describes India as a Sovereign Independent Republic. The 
use of the word “Republic” is incompatible with the King 
being at the head of the State. The Draft Constitution makes 
the President the head of the State and not the King. Nor 
is the President the Representative of the King. He is the 
representative of the Indian people. The oath to be taken by 
the members of Indian Parliament is not an oath of allegiance 
to the King but to the country and to the Constitution. 
Thus, the Draft Constitution is fundamentally different from 
what a Dominion Constitution is required to be. It requires 
every one of the three essential elements of a Dominion 


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364 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

Constitution. This is one difficulty in the way of India now 
accepting Dominion Status. To put the car in the reverse gear 
is always difficult. It is much more difficult to do so when 
the car has started running down hill. 

6. The other difficulty is psychological. Can we adopt 
an alien King as our own ? Is there anything socially and 
culturally common between Indians and the people comprising 
the Dominions ? Even if the word ‘British’ was removed from 
its designation, the Commonwealth will still continue to be 
British in its loyalty and white in its colour complex. Can 
India feel at home in such a Commonwelath ? However, 
much one may like that India should maintain a link with 
the Commonwealth, there can be no doubt that India cannot 
be at home in the Commonwealth. 

III. Amended Form of Dominion Status 

7. If the link cannot be established by India becoming a 
Dominion in de jure sense of the term, what is the alternative ? 
The alternative suggested is that proposed in the British 
Nationality Act of 1948 and the Canadian Nationality Act of 
1946. Section 1 of the act reads as follows : — 

“British nationality by virtue of citizenship : — 

(1) Every person who under this Act is a citizen of the 
United Kingdom and Colonies or who under any 
enactment for the time being in force in any country 
mentioned in the next following sub-section is a citizen 
of that country shall, by virtue of that citizenship, have 
the status of a British subject. Any person having the 
status aforesaid may be known either as a British 
subject or as a Commonwealth citizen and accordingly 
in this Act and in any other enactment or instrument 
whatever whether passed or made before or after the 
commencement of this Act, the expression ‘Briish subject’ 
and the expression Commonwealth citizen ‘ shall have 
the same meaning. 

(2) The following are the countries hereinbefore referred 
to, that is to say, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the 
Union of South Africa, Noewfound land, India, Pakistan, 
Southern Rhodesia and Ceylon.” 


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INDIA AND COMMONWEALTH 365 

Relevant sections of the Canadian Nationality Act are 
sections 4, 5 and 26 : — 

“4. Born before the commencement of the Act : — A 

person, born before the commencement of this Act, is a natural 
born Canadian citizen : — 

(a) If he was born in Canada or on a Canadianship and 
has not become an alien at the commencement of this 
Act; or 

(b) if he was born outside of Canada elsewhere than on a 
Canadianship and his father, or in the case of a person 
born out of wedlock, his mother — 

(i) was born in Canada or on a Canadianship and has 
not become an alien at the time of that person’s 
birth, or 

(ii) was, at the time of that person’s birth, a British 
subject who had Canadian domicile, 

if, at the commencement of this Act, that person has not 
become an alien, and has either been lawfully admitted to 
Canada for permanent residence or is a minor.” 

“5. Born after the commencement of the Act: — A 

person, born after the commencement of this Act, is a natural 
born Canadian citizen : — 

(a) if he is born in Canada or on a Canadianship ; or 

(b) if he is born outside of Canada elsewhere than on a 
Canadianship, and 

(i) his father, or in the case of a child born out of 
wed-lock, his mother, at the time of that person’s 
birth, is a Canadian citizen by reason of having been 
born in Canada or on a Canadianship, or having 
been granted a certificate of citizenship or having 
been a Canadian citizen at the commencement of 
this Act, and 

(ii) the fact of his birth is registered at a consulate 
or with the Minister, within two years after its 
occurrence or within such extended period as may 
be authorized in special cases by the Minister, in 
accordance with the regulations.” 


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366 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

“26. Canadian citizen a British subject : — A Canadian 
citizen is a British subject.” 

8. The scheme underlying these Acts is to create two 
categories of citizenship — (1) a Commonwealth citizen, and 
(2) a citizen of a particular Commonwealth. The acquisition 
of Commonwealth citizenship is automatic. Every person who 
is a citizen of a particular Commonwealth become, by reason 
of that fact, a Commomwealth citizen. It is said that if every 
Dominion did what the British and the Canadian Nationality 
Acts have done, it will be possible even for a Republic to be 
a member of the Commonwealth. 

9. This proposal requires to be examined from three 
points of view before we can give our consent to it. Does this 
proposal make any change in the existing system of citizenship 
prevailing in the Commonwealth ? If the proposal does involve 
a change, does India gain or lose by this change ? Thirdly, 
even if India is desirous of having a link the Commonwealth 
can she accept this proposal consistently with the provisions 
contained in the Draft Constitution ? 

10. The Commonwealth has suffered from three defects. 
One defect related to the conduct of its Foreign Affairs. Foreign 
Affairs have been the most fruitful source of war and yet they 
were mostly left to be conducted by the Government of the 
United Kingdom, with no active participation by the Dominions. 
It is true that the Dominions have the right to remain neutral. 
But that is no remedy, for it is a remedy which does not mend 
the Commonwealth. It puts an end to the Commonwealth. 
The second defect was that there was no remedy for the 
settlement of inter- dominion disputes. Dominions in relation to 
one another are not foreign countries. They therefore, cannot 
take their disputes to the Court of International Justice. 
And yet there has been no Tribunal to settle inter-dominion 
disputes. The third defect of the Commonwealth is that there 
was no common citizenship. A citizen of one dominion is not 
a citizen of every other Dominion. In fact the Commonwealth 
has been opposed to a Commonwealth citizenship. It insists 
that each Dominion shall be free to define who is to be its 
citizen and shall be free to say that the citizen of another 
shall not be its citizen. We are here concerned with the 


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INDIA AND COMMONWEALTH 367 

third defect. Does the proposal make any change in this 
system ? As I see it, it makes no change. The Dominions 
will still continue to have the same right of defining who is 
and who is not their citizen which have today and will in 
future as in the past continue to exclude Indians resident 
in them from the rights of citizenship. 

11. Thus India does not stand to gain or lose from this 
change vis-a-vis the Dominions. But India need not consider 
the case of the other Dominions for it may be taken for 
granted that they will never confer their citizenship on 
Indians and India, therefore, will never be called upon to 
admit them to her citizenship. But the case of India and 
United Kingdom is different. For under her Nationality Act 
she is prepared to recognize Indians as her citizens. She 
expects India to recognize her nationals to be the citizens of 
India. Can India afford to do so ? I am sure India cannot. The 
reason is obvious. Once a common citizenship is established 
between India and Great Britain, we shall not be able to 
discriminate between British and Indian for both will be 
citizens. We shall be going back to the provisions contained 
in sections 111 to 121 of the old Government of India Act, 
1935, which prevented any such discrimination between 
British and Indian citizens, from which we have been trying 
to escape. It is, therefore, quite clear that Commonwealth 
citizenship is a dangerous method of making India a member 
of the Commonwealth. 

12. Apart from the dangers involved in the proposal, 
can India accept it as a link between herself and the 
Commonwealth consistently with the provisions contained 
in the Draft Constitution to which I have already made a 
reference ? This solution of having a Commonwealth citizenship 
is recommended on the ground that it avoids reference to the 
King and this enables even Republics to remain members of 
the Commonwealth. But does it ? To dertermine this issue one 
must know what is meant by a Commonwealth citizen. Now 
citizenship is a matter of rights and duties. If a question is 
asked what are the rights of a citizen of a Commonwealth, 
one can easily answer it. The rights of a citizen of a 
Commonwealth are those that are conferred upon him by the 


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368 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

law of that particular Commonwealth of which he is a citizen. 
But what are the rights and duties of a Commonwealth citizen ? 
If this is a new and original concept having substance in it, 
then we should be able to find and answer to this question 
in the two Acts — defining nationality — British and Canadian. 
Both Acts are silent on the subject. A Commonwealth citizen 
is thus a bogus person with neither should to lose nor a body 
be kicked. 

13. The term Commonwealth citizen is nothing but an 
empty phrase. It has no juristic content. As compared to it 
the citizenship of the United States, which is distinct from 
the citizenship of a State, is a real thing. It has certain 
privileges and immunites. But there are none which are 
attached to a Commonwealth citizen. Why then is the term 
Commonwealth citizen used ? What does it really stand for ? 
A reference to Section 1 of the British Nationality Act already 
quoted shows that it is only a substitute for the age old 
term “British Subject”. Knowing this, can India accept this 
solution ?If a Commonwealth citizen is merely another name 
for a British citizen, he must owe allegiance to the King. And 
as I have pointed out, allegiance to a King is incompatible 
with a Republic. It is, therefore, clear that this solution — 
Commonwealth citizenship — cannot be accepted by India if 
India is to be a Republic. 

IV. A New Approach 

14. Having regard to her draft Constitution India cannot 
accept allegiance to the King, or Commonwealth citizenship 
as a method of remaining in the Commonwealth. We must 
find out some other way. It seems to me that the proper way 
to adopt is to follow the lines set out by De Valera in 1921 
for the settlement of the Irish question. Those who have 
followed the controversy know that Mr. De Valera did not 
want Ireland to be a Constituent State of the Commonwealth 
having the symbols of a Dominion referred to in paragraph 4 
of this note. He wanted Ireland to be an Associate State of the 
Commonwealth as a distinguished from a Constituent State 
of the Commonwealth. His conception of an Associate State of 
the Commonwealth was set out by him in a paper which in 
the history of Irish settlement is known as Document No. 2. 


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INDIA AND COMMONWEALTH 369 

15. I reproduce the following parts of the Document for 
easy reference as well to give an idea of what Mr. De Valera 
meant by an Associate State: 

“States of Ireland 

1. That, the legislative, executive, and judicial authority 
of Ireland shall be derived solely from the people of 
Ireland. 

Terms of Association 

2. That, for purposes of common concern, Ireland shall be 
associated with States of the British Commonwealth, 
viz : The Kingdom of Great Britain, the Dominion of 
Canada, the Commonwealth of Australia, the Dominion 
of New Zealand, and the Union of South Africa. 

3. That, when acting as an associate the rights, status 
and privileges of Ireland shall be in no respect less 
than those enjoyed by any of the component States of 
the British Commonwealth. 

4. That, the matters of “common concern” shall include 
Defence, Peace and War, Political Treaties, and all 
matters now treated as of common concern amongst the 
States of the British Commonwealth, and that in these 
matters there shall be “between Ireland and the States 
of the British Commonwealth” such concerted action 
founded on consultation as the several Governments 
may determine. 

5. That, in virtue of this association of Ireland with the 
States of the British Commonwealth, citizen of Ireland in 
any of these States shall not be subject to any disabilities 
which a citizen of one of the component States of the 
British Commonwealth would not be subject to, and 
reciprocally for citizens of these States in Ireland. 

6. That, for purposes of the Association, Ireland shall 
recognise His Britannic Majesty as head of the 
Association.” 

Here is a new way of establishing a link with the 
Commonwealth. Paragaphs 6, 5 and 4 call for a scrutiny : 


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370 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

Paragraph 6 : — This paragraph 6 can be easily dropped 
as being quite unnecessary for a link between the Dominions 
and the Associate State. De Valera himself when he gave effect 
to the principles underlying this Document by enacting the 
Executive Authority (External Relations) Act, 1936, dropped it. 

Paragraph 5 : — We cannot accept paragraph 5 in the 
terms in which it stands. If it is found necessary to retain 
it, we must revise its language carefully. We must make a 
distinction between disabilities and privileges and immunities. 
While agreeing not to subject the citizens of the different 
Commonwealth residents in India to any disabilities, we 
must not allow them to claim the benefit of privileges and 
immunities which must be reserved to the citizens of India. 

Paragraph 4 : — This paragraph of the Document is the 
most important part of the Document. It is the best part 
of the Document. It contains the definition of an Associate 
State and States clearly how and to what extent it is linked 
to the Commonwealth. This is enough for our purpose. Our 
Constitution will not permit us to have a closer link with 
the Commonwealth. Our needs will not permit us to have a 
looser link with the Commonwealth. 

16. The question is whether association on these terms 
will be accepted as sufficient for India to be regarded as a 
member of the British Commonwealth of Nations. As I have 
stated the provisions of Document No. 2 were incorporated 
in the Irish Constitution when it was re-enacted in 1937. 
Question was raised whether with these changes, Ireland still 
remained a member of the British Commonwealth. In reply 
to this the British Government on the 30th December, 1937 
issued the following statement — 

“His Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom have 
considered the position created by the new Constitution 
which was approved by the Parliament of the Irish Free 
State in June 1937, and came into force on December, 
29th. 

“They are prepared to treat the new Constitution as not 
effecting a fundamental alteration in the position of 
the Irish Free State-in future to be described under 
the new Constitution as ‘Eire’ or ‘Ireland’-as a member 
of the British Commonwealth of Nations. 


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INDIA AND COMMONWEALTH 371 

“His Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom have 
ascertained that His Majesty’s Government in Canada, 
the Commonwealth of Australia, New Zealand and the 
Union of South Africa are also prepared so to treat the 
new Constitution.” 

Having accepted Ireland as a member of the Commonwealth, 
the British Government is bound to do the same with regard 
to India especially when the terms in both cases are the same. 
Neither the British Government nor the Dominions can demand 
from us for associate membership which is all we need. 

V-Nature and Advantages of the New proposal 

17. By this new proposal the Commonwealth will consist of 
two sorts of States — (1) Constituent States, and (2) Associated 
States. The former will be the old Dominions with the King at 
the head. The latter will include countries like India who do 
not acknowledge the King at the head. The proposal has two 
advantages. It enables India to remain as Republic which she 
has resolved to be. It enables India and the Commonwealth 
to obtain reciprocal advantages in fields which are of vital 
importance to both. And lastly, it enables India to avoid the 
danger of giving recognition to the proposal of a Commonwealth 
citizenship which may involve equality of treatment of Indians 
and Britishers in matters of trade and commerce against 
which India has fought. 

Vl-Clarification 

18. While making India an Associate Member of the 
Commonwealth, we must not omit to make two things clear. 
One is that whether India is a member of the Commonwealth 
or not must not be made dependent upon the wishes of 
the Commonwealth. It must be determined entirely by any 
declaration made by India in this behalf. The other is that the 
dissociation of India from the Commonwealth must be left to 
be decided by any declaration made by India in this behalf. 
Anyone who has studied the case of Ireland will realize the 
importance of these clarifications. Ireland has been held to 
be a Dominion even when it was made clear by her in her 
Constitution that she did not want to be a Dominion. Ireland 
has not been allowed to go out of the Commonwealth on the 
ground that the other Dominions have not recognized her as 
a Foreign State. 


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372 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

19. This clarification has become urgent because of the 
recent decision of the King’s Bench Division in Murry v/s 
Parkes (A.E.R. 1942-Volume I. 558.) The question was whether 
Ireland was or was not a Dominion. The Lord Chief Justice 
held that Ireland was not a Dominion and gave two reasons 
in support of his decision — 

(1) That, he was not aware that Eire had ever expressly 
exercised the right of secessions, and 

(2) That, even if it had, the question would still remain 
whether secession by Eire could be effective unless and 
until the other members of the Commonwealth had 
recognized Eire as a Foreign State. 

This is I have no doubt a very mischievous decision. There 
is in it more politics than Law. We must not, therefore, leave 
any shadow of doubt on the point that our entry into as 
well as our exit from the Commonwealth is a matter which 
entirely depends upon us and the wish and the consent of the 
Commonwealth is both unnecessary and irrelevant. 

Vll-Implementation 

20. I now come to the question of implementation. There 
are two questions here which arise for consideration. The 
form of the declaration and the method of giving it a legal 
sanction. As to the form of the declaration, I put forth the 
following Draft — 

“India is hereby declared to be an Associate member of 
the British Commonwealth for the purposes of such 
concerted action founded on consultation and free will 
in matters of common concern which shall include trade, 
commerce, defence, peace and war on the understanding 
that when acting as an associate rights, status, and 
privileges of India shall in no respect be less than 
those enjoyed by any of the other component States of 
the Commonwealth.” 

Such a declaration accompanied by clarifications on points 
mentioned above should suffice. If such a declaration is 
made, it does not seem to me to be necessary to amend 
the Preamble by the substitution of the word ‘State’ 
for the word ‘Republic’. The word ‘Republic’ may stand. 


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INDIA AND COMMONWEALTH 373 

21. The next question is of implementation. There are 
two ways of implementing it. One is by a treaty. The other 
is by introducing an Article in the Constitution. I prefer the 
latter mode. 

22. This statement may appear to run counter to what is 
suggested by my amendment to the Preamble. I must confess 
that my attitude has undergone a change. This change is 
due to the new basis suggested for Dominion Status — namely 
Commonwealth Citizenship. I was in favour of Dominion Status 
because of the right it gave to each Dominion to define its 
Citizens. A common Citizenship seems to me to be dangerous 
to the economic independence of India. For it may result 
in taking away the liberty of India to protect her nationals 
against Commonwealth citizens. The original basis of Dominion 
Status — namely allegiance to the King — appears to me less 
dangerous than the new basis of Commonwealth citizenship. 


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30 

CONSTITUTION AND CONSTITUTIONALISM 

THE CONSTITUTION OF INDIA 
AN EXPOSITION OF ITS PRINCIPLES 

Introduction : The Beginnings and the Growth of the 
Constitution. 

PARTI 


Principles underlying the Constitutional System 

Chapter 1. 

The Principle of Democracy. 

Chapter 2. 

The Principle of Federalism. 

Chapter 3. 

The Principle of Separation of Powers. 

PART II 

The Organs of the State 

Chapter 4. 

The Legislature. 

Chapter 5. 

The Executive. 

Chapter 6. 

The Judiciary. 

PART III 

The Union and the States 

Chapter7. 

Legislative Relations. 

Chapter 8. 

Admini strative Relations . 

Chapter 9. 

Financial Relations. 

Chapter 10. 

Emergency Relations. 

PART IV 

The State and the Citizen 

Chapter 11. 

The Rule of Law. 

Chapter 12. 

Right to Personal Freedom. 

Chapter 13. 

Right to Freedom of Speech. 

Chapter 14. 

Right of Public Meeting. 

Chapter 15. 

Right of Association. 

Chapter 16. 

Right of Free Movement. 

Chapter 17. 

Right to hold Property. 


The manuscript received contained only the Chapter Scheme of the book 
presented above and the two introductions which follow : Editors. 


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CONSTITUTION AND CONSTITUTIONALISM 375 

INTRODUCTION 

The Nature and scope of Constitutional Law 

In the pages that follow I have not reproduced the text 
of the Articles of the Constitution. Such a thing would 
have been in my judgment useless and unhelpful to the 
student who wants to have an overall idea of the provisions 
of the Constitution and the principles underlying it. 
What I have done is to select certain heads and assemble 
thereunder for discussion and exposition articles of the 
Constitution relevant to such heads. What those heads 
are will be clear from the Table of Contents. This is an 
analytical study of the Constitution which aims to give 
an objective picture of the Constitution and to set it in 
contrast with the provisions of the constitutions of other 
countries. 

It is not unlikely that a reader may ask on what basis 
I have selected the heads for discussion. My answer is that 
these are the topics which are generally held to fall within 
the scope of Constitutional Law. This answer, however, 
raises other questions. What is meant by a Constitution ? 
What is the nature and scope of Constitutional Law ? 
Some explanation of the subject is, therefore, inevitable. 
It must, however, be very brief. 

What is meant by the term Constitution ? The word 
constitution in its legal connotation means the act of 
establishing or of ordaining or the ordinance or regulation 
so established. According to Prof. Me II wain : — 

“In the Roman Empire the word in its Latin form 
became the technical term for acts of legislation by the 
emperor, and from Roman Law the Church borrowed 
it and applied it to ecclesiastical regulations for the 
whole Church or some particular ecclesiastical province. 
From the Church, or possibly from the Roman law-books 
themselves, the term came back into use in the later 
middle ages as applicable to secular enactments of the 
time.” 


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376 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

For centuries the word Constitution always meant a 
particular administrative enactment. Much as it had meant 
to the Roman Lawyers. The word was used to distinguish 
such particular enactments from Consuetudo or ancient 
custom. It was not until 1610 the Constitution came to 
have the modern meaning, according to which it means the 
scheme of civil Government as defined by law ; in other 
words, the legal frame work of the State. 

A hundred years later the word Constitution is seen to 
have taken on an additional and special meaning which 
goes much beyond the legal frame-work of the State. This 
is well indicated by Bolingbroke who, writing in 1733, 
said : — 

“By Constitution, we mean, whenever we speak 
with propriety and exactness, that assemblage of laws, 
institutions and customs, derived from certain fixed 
principles of reason, directed to certain fixed objects of 
public good, that compose the general system, according 
to which the community hath agreed to be Governed.” 

Even this meaning of the word Constitution is still short 
of the modern meaning of the word Constitution. To-day 
the word means the fundamental law which determines the 
powers and duties of the different organs of Government 
in a State and to which they are subject. This meaning 
of the word Constitution was evidently brought out by 
Thomas Paine who argued that: — 

“A Constitution is not the act of a Government but of a 

people constituting a Government and a Government without a 

Constitution is power without right.” 

So much for the meaning of the word Constitution. 

What is the nature and scope of Constitutional Law ? An 
easier way of understanding the nature of Constitutional 
Law is to know its scope. It would, therefore, be better to 
describe first the scope of it. The scope of Constitutional 
Law all over the world where democracy prevails includes 
all matters relating to the right claimed by the State 
against its citizens, i.e. (1) to make a law binding on all, 


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(2) to enforce the law and (3) to interpret the law and the 
rights claimed by the citizens against the State. If it is 
a composite State, i.e., a Federal State, then the scope of 
Constitutional Law would, in addition to those matters, include 
matters pertaining to the inter-relations between the Central 
Polity and the other polities making up the Federation, legal, 
executive and financial. 

Given the scope what is the place of Constitutional Law 
in legal jurisprudence ? Prof. Holland calls it a part of the 
Public Law of the country. No one can deny that this is the 
correct view. His reasoning logically leads to that conclusion. 
Law as an enforceable rule of conduct relates to rights. When 
it relates to rights as between the citizens of the same State 
it is called Municipal Law. When it relates to two different 
States, it is called International Law. The Municipal Law of 
a State falls into two categories. One is called the Private 
Law and the other is called Public Law. Rights which may 
be enforced by one citizen against another fall under what is 
called Private Law. Rights which the State asserts against 
citizens to enforce against itself fall under what is called 
Public Law. Similarly in a federal organization the rights 
which the Centre has against the States necessarily belong 
to the field of Public Law. On no view they can be deemed 
to fall under Private Law. 

In so far as Constitutional Law deals with the rights 
claimed by the State against another State or by the State 
against the citizens and the rights claimed by the citizens 
against the State, Constitutional Law must be admitted as 
a branch of Public Law. This explanation of the nature and 
scope of Constitional Law will justify why only certain heads 
have been selected for discussion and exposition. They are 
selected because their discussion offers the best method of 
exposing the Constitution as a part of the Public Law of India 
and bringing to light its special features. 


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31 

PEOPLE IN INDIA WOULD KNOW 
THEIR FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS 

Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, the Law Minister, Government 
of India, visited Hyderabad. He addressed a meeting held 
in the Boat Club, under the auspices of the Hyderabad 
Progressive Group on 24-5-1950. Certain questions were put 
to him by the correspondents and members of the audience 
in regard to the Constitution, Democracy, Untouchability 
etc. 


Parliamentary Democracy in India 

There are moments when I think that the future of 
Democracy in India is very dark. But, I do not want to 
say that I have not other moments when I feel that if all 
of us put our shoulders together and pledge ourselves to 
“constitutional morality” we should be able to build up 
a regular party system in which there could be liberty, 
equality and fraternity. 

Fundamental Rights Embodied in The 
Constitution Of India 

It is wrong to suppose that fundamental rights conferred 
absolute rights on the citizens. We have certain limitations 
on Fundamental Rights which are necessary for the safety 
of the State. While we drafted the Constitution, we took 
care to see that individual liberty was not unduly affected 
by limitation on fundamental rights. 

The best guarantee of fundamental rights was to 
have a good opposition in Parliament, in which case the 
Government was bound to behave properly. 

The second safeguard was legal. For instance, a Minister 
acted on reports submitted by the C. I. D. in arresting 
and keeping a person under the preventive detention. The 
question that arose was were the reports of the C. I. D. 
genuine. This is a difficult question to solve. 


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PEOPLE IN RIGHTS 379 

I should have thought that legal ingenuity ought to be 
able to find some way of imposing some restrictions or some 
limitations upon the power of the Minister to act upon such 
reports so that there is enough ground for taking executive 
action and that there is sound semblance of genuineness in the 
report submitted. If that is done, I think, then the Supreme 
Court is there as another safeguard. 

India is now in a transitional stage. When the U. S. A. 
framed its Constitution and incorporated the fundamental 
rights therein, its people did not know what the nature, scope 
and limitations of those rights were. It was only after a long 
course of judicial decisions of the Supreme Court that the 
difficulties were settled, and the nature, scope and limitations 
of fundamental rights were all laid down. Similarly, I am sure 
that after a period of five or ten years, people in India would 
know their fundamental rights and what their Constitution 
meant for them. 


Adult Franchise 

Question : Why was adult franchise introduced in India all 
of a sudden and not gradually ? 

Answer: I think the party in power was so much committed 
to the principle of adult suffrage that notwithstanding the fact 
that towards the end they began to feel somewhat doubtful 
about its utility, they could not go back to it. 

Personally, I am not at all afraid of adult franchise. I 
am one of the few people who are very much in touch with 
the masses and I feel certain that there is no fear of adult 
suffrage being misunderstood or misrepresented in any way. 
The only difficulty I feel about adult suffrage is the capacity 
of the attenuated official machinery to carry out the entire 
polling of this vast mass of voters in the country. The only 
way by which that difficulty could be solved, in my judgement, 
is not to have election in all the constituencies in one day, 
but to spread them over a few days to enable the machinery 
to function efficiently. 

Question : Is it a fact that in the meeting of Hyderabad Scheduled 
Castes Federation Working Committee it was decided to 
give an ultimatum to Caste Hindus that if they did not 


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380 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

stop harassing the Scheduled Castes and recognise 
their rights, the Scheduled Castes would take the 
matter to the UN? 

Answer : There was no agenda for the meeting and no 
resolutions were passed. 

It is always, however, open to any section of the people 
in any country to go to the Human Rights Commission, if it 
feels oppressed. 


Untouchability 

The problem of Untouchability in India is assuming an 
economic aspect now which formerly it did not. 

I suppose that the lot the Untouchables in the country 
is better now than was the case five or six years ago, but 
they might have progressed better and quicker if certain 
impediments were not in their way. 

On Having A Common Civil Code For All 
Communities 

Question : Is it not possible to have a common civil code for 
all communities inhabiting India, like the Hindus, Muslims, 
Christains, Parsis etc? 

Answer: It is not so easy to produce a civil code applicable 
to all in this country irrespective of caste or religion. Obviously 
it is quite clear we cannot import principles of justice from 
some country outside India denovo. We do not have a clean 
slate. We should take the Hindu Law, the Muslim Law, the 
laws governing the Christians and other communities and 
other acts and find out a common denominator. We can go to 
every community and try to tell them to accept the common 
denominator in the interests of uniformity of law. 

But first of all, we should know our own law and what 
it is. For instance, the Hindu Law is a ‘Jungle’. It must be 
codified so that people may have an idea about laws governing 
them before they can consider having a common code. 


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32 

WHAT I SAY IS THAT BE FIRM AND SINCERE 

During the course of an interview on the 27th, Oct. 1951 
at Jullunder, press correspondents asked Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, 
certain questions with regard to Kashmir, India’s relation with 
Commonwealth etc. Answers given by Dr. B. R. Ambedkar 
are given below : — Editors. 

Question : What is your opinion about the Kashmir problem ? 

Answer : I fear that a plebiscite in Jammu and Kashmir 
may go against India. In order to save Hindu and Buddhist 
population of Jammu and Ladakh, from going to Pakistan, 
in such an eventuality, there should be zonal plebiscite in 
Jammu, Ladakh, and Kashmir. 

Question : Why has Churchill come to power again in Britain ? 

Answer : The defeat of the Labour Party was probably due 
to sudden emergence of Iranian Oil and Egyptian question. 

The British general electorate probably thought that if the 
Labour Party came into power, Mr. Bevan would dominate, 
which meant that the defence of Great Britain would be 
weakened. 

Question : What effect the return of conservative party will 
have on India ? 

Answer: I do not think it will have any effect, except probably 
that Mr. Churchill may raise the question of sterling balances, 
and probably there may be some change in British attitude 
towards Pakistan. Mr. Churchill has not been very fond of 
Hindus in India, his sympathies naturally are with Pakistan. 

Question : With Mr. Churchill in power, Do you think India 
should continue to remain in the Commonwealth ? 

Answer: Are we in the Commonwealth ? I have not been able to 
understand our Prime Minister. In 1929 he insisted that India 
will not be satisfied with Dominion Status. In 1942, when the 
‘Quit India Movement’ was started he was the man who opposed 
‘Quit India Movement’ which attitude was opposed to the attitude 
taken in Lahore. When I framed the Constitution he strongly 


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382 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

objected to India becoming a Dominion and suddenly he went 
to London for talks and came back and made a declaration 
that India should be in the Commonwealth. 

Question : But what do you think India should do at present ? 

Answer : I cannot say anything. It is a very complicated 
question. India should do whatever is to her advantage. If 
the country thinks that it is not to her advantage to remain 
in the Commonwealth, she should go out. What I say is that 
be firm and sincere. 


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33 

NO USE ABOUT INDEPENDENT FOREIGN 
POLICY WITHOUT STRIKING POWER 

“Dr. Ambedkar does not like journalists. He told them so 
at an informal meeting in Bombay on Saturday* When he 
was offered the Co-operation of the Press he rejected it. 

Most of what he said was “off the record.” He made it 
clear he felt that Mr. Nehru was dragging India headlong to 
ruin. Instead of poking our noses into other people’s affairs, 
he suggested, we ought to isolate ourselves from the rest of 
the nations and build our collapsing economy. Dr. Ambedkar 
seems to be haunted by the threat of a Chinese invasion. 
China is on our doorstep and we cannot defend ourselves, he 
says. It is no use talking about an independent foreign policy 
without striking power. 

Dr. Ambedkar is a formidable intellect. One cannot avoid 
being impressed by him even if one disagrees completely with 
his views. He puts his case clearly; he is prompt in replying 
to questions. He is a master of sarcasm .” 1 

• • 


* The 24th November 1951. 

1: The National Standard, dated 25th November 1951 


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34 

U. S. A. INCLINED TOWARDS PAKISTAN 

“Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, Scheduled Castes’ leader and 
former Union Law Minister, returned to Bombay by a T.W.A. 
Constellation on Saturday,* from the United States, after 
receiving an honorary degree of Doctor of Laws from Columbia 
University. 

The degree was conferred on Dr. Ambedkar at a special 
convocation on June 5, for his contribution to the Indian 
Costitution.” 1 

“Bombay, June 14, 1952 (PTI) 

“Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, Scheduled Castes’ leader, said 
here today that the general public of the U.S.A. was “more 
impressed by Pakistan and her policies than India. It was 
more favourably inclined towards Pakistan”, he added. 

Dr. Ambedkar, who had gone to America to receive the 
degree of LLD., from the Columbia University, was giving 
his impressions of the public opinion in America, as gathered 
from talks with various people in that country.” 2 

• • 


* The 14th June 1952. 

1: The Sunday Standard, dated 16th June 1952. 
2: The Bombay Chronicle, dated 15th June 1952. 


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35 

RETAIN ENGLISH AT ANY COST 

Aurangabad, July 3, 1953. 

“Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, former Law Minister of India, 
has pleaded for the retention of English as the medium of 
instruction in colleges and universities at any cost. 

In an interview, Dr. Ambedkar remarked that English was 
the richest of all languages and said: “I do not believe any 
other language in India including Hindi can be used instead 
of English in schools and colleges.” 

Dr. Ambedkar, who is the founder-chairman of the People’s 
Education Society in Aurangabad, said that he would not 
allow either Hindi or the regional language to be the medium 
of instruction in the Aurangabad College. English, he added, 
would be the medium of instruction. 

Talking of Indian languages, Dr. Ambedkar said that no 
other language could take the place of Hindi. He explained 
they had selected Hindi because of the fact it could expand. 

However, he said, Hindi lacked “literature and depth,” 
both of which the English language possessed. 

To enrich Hindi, Dr. Ambedkar said, a Hindi Academy 
consisting of eminent men should be started and a vocabulary 
should be prepared. — UPI.” 1 

• • 


1 : The National Standard, dated 4th July 1953. 


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36 

ONE MAN’S TRAFFIC IN PUBLIC AFFAIRS 

Editors of Kesari and Maratha, Poona wrote a letter to 
Dr. Ambedkar on 5-7-1954, to which Dr. Ambedkar replied on 
15-7-1954. The reply of Dr. Ambedkar is as follows. — Editors. 

26, Alipur Road, 
DELHI. 
15th July, 1954. 

The Editor, The Kesari and the Maratha Office, 

Poona-2. 

My Dear Sir, 

I have received your letter of the 5th July, 1954 asking 
me to state my views on certain questions mentioned therein. 
I am sorry to say, I could not deal with that letter while 
in Bombay as I was extremely busy with the affairs of the 
College. Immediately thereafter I had to go to Coonoor to 
deliver a lecture on the Indian Constitution to the Military 
Staff College. I returned therefrom only yesterday. 

In the present day with one man’s traffic in public affairs 
it is very difficult to maintain one’s interest in the foreign 
affairs as the country is not prepared to listen to any view 
which does not concur with that of the Prime Minister. The 
same has been more or less the case with me and I may say 
that I have ceased to take the same degree of interest in the 
foreign affairs of the country which I used to take at one time. 
That being so I do not feel quite competent to deal with the 
subject you have raised. 

With kind regards, 


Yours faithfully, 

(Sd.) B.R. Ambedkar. 

• • 


Reprinted: Khairmode, Vol. 11, p.69. 


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37 

FLOOD-CONTROL 
USE OF ATOMIC POWER 

By Dr. B. R. Ambedkar 

Recently we have heard and read a great deal about floods 
in India and the methods of flood control. As a member of 
the Viceroy’s Executive Council, I happened to be in charge 
of Irrigation. I then established a Department called the 
Irrigation and Navigation Commission, which I believe has 
been renamed River Control Board, Central Water Power 
Commission and so on. 

These organisations have made proposals for flood 
control which appear in the press from time to time. It was 
expected that some sure remedy would be found by these 
organisations. But we now find that whatever the proposals 
their implementation has failed completely to control the 
floods. It has also been reported from Shillong that it is 
difficult, almost impossible, even for engineers to say what 
steps can successfully control the Brahamaputra floods, and 
that an experimental bund was constructed at a cost of Rs. 
14,00,000 and that it has been washed away in the floods. 

Embankments 

We also hear that Government has given up the new idea 
of controlling floods by damming the rivers, and has gone 
back to the antiquated idea of embankments and of invoking 
therewith mass help for the job. 

In this connection I would like to draw the attention of 
the Government of India and of the engineers concerned in 
the matter to a proposal which has been put forth by an 
eminent engineer and which has been published in a Bombay 
contemporary September 10, 1954, under the heading Atomic 
Science to the rescue written by ‘Observer.’ 

The proposal to which I wish to draw attention is a 
simple one, namely using atomic power for flood control. 
On reading the statement in the paper, “Observer”, I 
was greatly attracted to it and made enquiry as to who 
the author of this proposal was, I learnt that he is one 
Mr. C.S. Pillai. I discovered that he has been in the 


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388 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

civil engineering profession for more than thirty years, and 
has already had some experience in such work. He says that 
till the development of atomic research to its present stage, 
the most common methods revolved round science of bunds, 
embankments or revetments. Recent advances in the science 
of river-training, however, have brought new knowledge and 
techniques which could be employed with some effect in 
controlling the rivers which bring so much misery year after 
year. He further asserts that ‘these methods and techniques 
may be utilised as stop-gap measures. But for permanent 
remedies we must look elsewhere.’ 

I questioned him to explain to me his permanent plan of 
controlling river floods. I reproduce below that he told me : 

“The development of atomic science brings the hope that 
there is a permanent way. The river of sorrow can be brought 
under control, tamed and trained as we desire and serve our 
purposes by the application of what is known as nuclear fission. 
The application of this method will be easily understood by 
those who have worked out Ohm’s Law of saturation, current 
and disruptive discharge and consolidation over the trajectories 
caused by the action of neutrons.” 

“How does this Ohm’s Law work and what is its relation 
to atomic science ?” 


Neutrons 

“Atomic physicists can answer this question more fully. It 
is possible to produce today torrents of neutrons by nuclear 
reactors. These torrents of neutrons can be made to penetrate 
easily the fathoms of river water to regulate the water levels 
as well as the catchment areas. Thereby the flood flow can be 
controlled and regulated so as to serve our needs in irrigation 
and power projects. The rest of the flood water can be instantly 
evaporated. 

“It may be asked why neutrons are so effective as 
probes of matter. The answer is simple. Neutrons have 
no electric charge. Unaffected by the clouds of negative 
charge with which electrons surround the atomic nuclei 
Neutrons pass easily through the depths of water and 
dredge the silt and sand and even scrap the rock-beds to 
any desired depth and discharge the entire stuff either 


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FLOOD ATOMIC POWER 389 

on both banks of the river or into the sea, according to our 
will, in a matter of days, if not of hours. In the process the 
river-beds are simultaneously consolidated as also the river- 
banks on the lines of the trajectories.” 

The problem of floods is a constantly recurring problem, 
and there cannot be a greater destructive force than this. 
In solving it Government should not depend solely upon the 
wisdom and scientific knowledge of their own officers. 

It is their duty to welcome any suggestion coming from 
any quarter and examine it on its own merit. Safety lies in 
a multiplicity of proposals .” 1 


• • 


1 : The Times of India, dated January 18, 1955. 


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38 


STRONGLY OBJECT CREATION Of 
MONOLITHIC MONSTROUS STATES 

Dr. B. R. Ambedkar issued telegram to Pandit Jawaharlal 
Nehru regarding formation of linguistic States. The telegram 
is as follows: — Editors 


TELEGRAM 

Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, 

NEW DELHI. 


17 - 1-1956 


Regret inability attend Parliament, Doctor strongly object 
my travelling to Delhi. Wanted to express my views in 
Parliament over issue of linguistic provinces. Being unable 
to do so. I am conveying views to you by this telegram. Am 
speaking on behalf of Federation. Federation like Bombay go 
Maharashtra but do not mind Bombay made separate State. 
However very strongly object creation of such monolithic 
monstrous States as U.P., Bihar, Maharashtra. Federation 
feels these States not only great danger to Central Government 
will also be great danger to minorities and Scheduled Castes. 
Federation wants U.P., Bihar be divided into three States. 
Maharashtra also be divided into three States. There be no 
protection to Scheduled Castes under aegies of State in which 
overwhelming majority is opposed to recognition of Scheduled 
Castes as human beings. I request you pay serious attention 
this question. Fear consequences might be very serious. 
Scheduled Castes are now without any political safeguard. In 
their desparation may take to any kind of violence. 


Ambedkar . 1 

• • 


^Khairmode.Vol. 10, Pp. 56-57. 


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39 

AMBEDKAR’S RECIPE FOR MAHARASHTRA 

Voice of the People 

The communications I have received indicate that the 
Maharashtrians are not quite satisfied with the proposals that 
I recently made in the Rajya Sabha over the Maharashtra- 
Bombay issue. They are afraid that in Bombay City they may 
not get the majority. 

The Gujeratis, on the other hand, realise that with 15 per cent 
of Gujerati population in a house of 100 they would not have 
more than two to four seats. Both the communities will remain 
helpless and chafe at each other. I, therefore, make another 
suggestion. 

The Maharashtra State, I suggest, should be divided 
into two States, one of which should consist of — (1) Greater 
Bombay ; (2) Thana district; (3) Colaba ; (4) Ratnagiri ; (5) 
Kolhapur and (6) Marathi- speaking parts of Surat district, 
Belgaum and Karwar districts. The dividing line is Sahyadri 
mountain. 

The advantages of this division are : — (1) it can give 
Maharashtrians majority over Bombay through North Bombay ; 
(2) it is a separate cultural unit; (3) it is a separate linguistic 
unit and (4) the total area of this unit is 19,800 sq. miles 
with a total population of 9,067,413, which makes it a sizable 
State. The people are both maritime and martial. 

I do not see why the Brahmins are insisting on United 
Maharashtra. Even then, there will be two rival claimants 
for power, Shri. B. S. Hiray and Shri Ramrao M. Deshmukh. 
Possibly, Dr. Punjabrao Deshmukh may have his own view. 

There is another point which is raising dificulty and that 
relates to the capital of the second division of Maharashtra. 
The Deccan Brahmins want Poona, while the present 
Madhya Pradesh Brahmins want Nagpur. Others suggest 
the third alternative of the Legislature’s session being held 
alternately at these two cities. I condemn all the three 
alternatives. I am sure that under the name of United 
Maharashtra we are not calling Peshwai back. I suggest 


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392 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

the capital of United Maharashtra be Aurangabad. Adjacent 
to it is Daulatabad which was the capital of Maharashtra 
until it was destroyed by the Muslims. It has a fine climate. 

The question must be decided immediately. Whatever the 
Congress High Command may say, there is not the slightest 
chance of a Gujerati voting for a Maharashtrian candidate 
and the Maharashtrian voting for the Gujerati Candidate. 

Dr. B. R. Ambedkar (New Delhi)” 1 

• • 


1 : The Free Press Journal, dated 31st May 1956. 


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SECTION IV 

INSTITUTIONS, ORGANISATIONS AND 
THEIR CONSTITUTIONS 


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BLANK 


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1 

BAHISHKRIT HITKARINI SABHA 

Dr. Ambedkar organized a meeting on 9th March 1924 at 
Damodar Hall, Bombay, with objectives to establish a Central 
Institute which would place the grievances of the Untouchables 
before the Government and after many discussions, Central 
Institute was established. He proposed the name of the 
Institute as ‘Bahishkrit Hitkarini Sabha’ which was supported 
by all. The Vow of the Institute was decided “Educate, Agitate 
and Organize” and was approved unanimously. 

Mr. Sir Chimanlal Harilal Setalvad, LL.,D. became the 
President of Bahishkrit Hitkarini Sabha and Mr. Never Nissim, 
J. P. was Vice President, Mr. Rustamji Jinwala, Solicitor, 
Mr. G. K. Nariman, Dr. R. P. Paranjape, Dr. V. P. Chavan, 
Mr. B. G. Kher, Solicitor, were included in the Committee. 
Dr. B. R. Ambedkar was the Chairman of the Managing 
Committee while Mr. S. N. Shivatarkar, Secretary and 
Mr. N. T. Jadhav was Treasurer. The Bahishkrit Hitkarini 
Sabha was established on 20th July 1924 and was registered 
under the Act XXI of 1860. 

Dr. Ambedkar framed constitution of this institution. 
Following is the text of the constitution. — Editors. 


BAHISHKRIT HITKARINI SABHA 

(Registered under the Society Registration Act) 

Rules of Constitution 
Established 
20th July 1924 
Head Office 

Damodar Hall, Parel 
Bombay - 12. 


Printed at the Co-operative Printing Press, 
91, B, Parel Road, Near Venus Cinema, 
Chinchpokli, Bombay- 12. 


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396 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

BAHISHKRIT HITKARINI SABHA 
Memorandum of Association 

I. The name of the Society will be : — 

“Bahishkrit Hitakarini Sabha” 

II. Its activities will be confined to the Presidency of 
Bombay. 

III. The Head Office of the Sabha will be situated in 
Bombay. 

IV. The aims and objects of the Sabha will be — 

(а) To promote the spread of education among the 
Depresses Classes by opening Hostels or by 
employing such other means as may seem necessary 
or desirable. 

(б) To promote the spread of culture among the 
Depressed Classes by opening Libraries, Social 
Centers and Classes or Study Circles. 

(c) To advance and improve the economic condition of 
the Depressed Classes by starting Industrial and 
Agricultural Schools. 

(d) To represent the grievances of the Depressed 
Classes. 

(e) To organize or help any club, association or any 
movement calculated to bring about the general 
enlightenment, social rise or economic betterment 
of the Depressed Classes. 

(V) In pursuance of the above objects and for the purpose 
of carrying out the same: — 

(1) To purchase, hire, lease or otherwise acquire any 
rights and privileges necessary or convenient for 
the purpose of the Sabha. 

(2) To erect, construct, alter and maintain any building 
or buildings necessary or convenient for the purpose 
of the Sabha. 


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BAHISHKRIT HITKARINI SABHA 397 

(3) To sell, improve, develop, exchange, lease, mortgage, 
dispose of, turn to account, manage or otherwise 
deal with all or any part of the property or rights 
and privileges of the Sabha. 

(4) To accept donations or property for general or 
specific purposes of the Sabha on condition or 
conditions not inconsistant with the aims and 
objects of the Sabha. 

(5) To amalgamate with or incorporate within itself 
any Society or Association with aims and objects 
similar to the aims and objects of the Sabha. 

VI. The Government of the Sabha will be conducted by : 

(i) Board of Trustees 

(ii) Council of Management 

(iii) Board of Control 

appointed in accordance with the rules of the Sabha. 

VII. At any meeting of the Board of Trustees, Council 
or Management and Board of Control, the quorum 
will consist of 10, 7 and 15 members of those bodies 
respectively. No quorum will be necessary for any 
adjourned meeting. 

VIII. No member of the Board of Trustees, Council of 
Management and Board of Control will be entitled to 
any pecuniary benefit from the properties and funds of 
the Sabha by reason of its being such member of the 
Board of Trustees, Council of Management or Board of 
Control. 


RULES 

1. Any person either male or female who is above the age 
of 18 years will be eligible for membership of the Sabha. 

2. Any person desirous of becoming a member of the Sabha 
may apply on the form of application provided for that purpose. 

3. The Council of Management will have power to admit 
or refuse any application for membership. 


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398 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

4. The General Body of the Sabha will have power of 
dismissing any member of the Sabha for gross misconduct 
endangering the interest of the Sabha by a vote of 3/4 of the 
members present at the meeting. 

5. The members of the Sabha will be classified as follows: 

(i) Patrons : Those who pay Rs. 3,000 or more in one 
sum or in such suitable instalments as the Council 
of Management may approve of. 

(ii) Supporters : Those who pay Rs. 2,000 or more in 
one sum or in such suitable instalments as the 
Council of Management may approve of. 

(iii) Sympathisers: Those who pay Rs. 1000 or more 
in one sum or in such suitable instalments as the 
Council of Management may approve of. 

(iv) Life Members: Those who pay Rs. 500 or more in 
one sum or in such suitable instalments as the 
Council of Management may approve of. 

(v) Associate Members : Those who pay Rs. 200 or 
more in one sum or in such suitable instalments 
as the Council of Management may approve of. 

(vi) Ordinary Members : These will be of the following 
classes : 


A 

: Those who 

pay 

Rs. 

25 

per 

Year 

B 


JJ 

Rs. 

10 

j? 


C 

. 99 99 


Rs. 

5 



D 

. 99 99 


Rs. 

3 



E 

. 99 99 

JJ 

Re. 

1 




Board of Trustees : 

6. There will be 16 Trustees of the Sabha for life in whom 
will be vested all the immoveable and moveable property of 
the Sabha as well as all the funds of the Sabha in whatsoever 
form. Of these 16 at least 4 shall be residents of Bombay. 


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BAHISHKRIT HITKARINI SABHA 399 

7. The Board of Trustees will be elected in the first instance 
by the General Body of the members of the Sabha. Any vacancy 
occurring in the Board of Trustees by death, resignation, 
incapacity or residence abroad will be filled up by a vote 3/4 
of the General Body of the members of the Sabha assembled 
for that purpose within 6 months from the occurrence thereof. 

8. The Board of Trustees will at all times contain a 
member or members of the Mahar, Chambhar, Mang and Dhed 
communities and shall be so constituted that it would have 
4 Trustees from Konkan, 2 from Gujarat, 2 from Kanerese 
and 8 from other districts of the Bombay Presidency. 

9. All property moveable and immovable and all funds will 
be held in the name of the Trustees. 

10. The Council of Management will submit an annual 
Budget of Expenditure appropriated under convenient major 
and minor Heads with the Expenditure to be incurred thereon 
in the coming year and the same shall come into operation 
as passed by the Trustees. Provided that the Council of 
Management may submit supplementary budget at any time 
during the course of the year. 

11. The Trustees will meet at least once a year within 
three months from the close of the previous official year of the 
Sabha for the purpose of passing the Annual Budget and will 
meet as often as may be necessary for passing supplementary 
budget on the requisition of the Council of Management. At all 
meeting of the Board of Trustees the majority vote will prevail. 

12. At all Budget meeting of the Board of Trustees the 
Chairman of the Council, the General Secretary and the 
Treasurer will sit as additional members. Provided that none 
of them will have the right to vote unless they are themselves 
Trustees. 

13. There will be previous notice of one month for every 
meeting of the Board of Trustees and for every meeting of the 
General Body of the members of the Sabha for the purpose 
of electing a Trustee. 

14. The Trustees will have the right by a resolution duly passed, 
to delegate their powers to one or more of their members and to 


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400 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

authorise that certain properties and funds will be vested in 
or dealt with in the name of one or more of their members. 

15. The Trustees will have the right of voting on any 
proposition or question by circular issued in that behalf 
by the General Secretary. All Resolutions so voted on by 
circular will be embodied in the minute book of the Board 
of Trustees. 

16. The Trustees may choose from among themselves a 
chairman for their meeting from time to time who will sign 
the minutes of the meeting before the meeting is dissolved. 

17. The Secretary of the Sabha will be ex-officio Secretary 
of the Board of Trustees and shall prepare the minutes of 
every meeting of the Board of Trustees. 

Council of Management 

18. The Council of Management will be the executive 
of the Sabha for the official year and will consist of 20 
members of the Sabha constituted as follows: 

(i) Four elected every year by the Board of Trustees 
from such among themselves as are residents at 
Bombay. 

(ii) Twelve elected every year by the General Body 
of the Sabha. 

(iii) Four co-opted every year by the 16 composed of 
(i) and (ii) from among the Depressed Classes 
members of the Sabha. 

19. Any vacancy occurring in the Council of Management 
by death, resignation, incapacity or residence abroad of any 
member thereof will be filled up by the remaining members 
of the Council by a resolution duly passed at a meeting to 
be called for the purpose. 

20. The Council will have the power : 

(a) To hold and manage the funds and properties of 
the Sabha for the purpose of the Sabha on behalf 
of the Trustees of the Sabha. 


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BAHISHKRIT HITKARINI SABHA 401 

(b) To hire, purchase or otherwise, acquire and dispose 
of properties and materials for the benefit of the 
institutions and activities of the Sabha in the name 
of the Trustees of the Sabha. 

(c) To organize any activity or open any institution 
falling within the aims and objects of the Sabha. 

(d) To abolish any institution or activity permanently 
or temporarily : provided that no Hostel will be 
abolished permanently or temporarily except by 
the vote of the 4/5th of the Trustees of the Sabha. 

(e) To open or close Branches of the Sabha wherever 
and whenever it appears advisable to do so. 

(f) To appoint the staff or other workers from time to 
time and fix their salary and terms of employment 
and to suspend and dismiss them when necessary. 

(g) To frame, alter and amend bye-laws regulating the 
various activities of the Sabha and the conduct and 
management thereof and the bye-laws to framed 
will have the force of rules until the same are 
amended or abrogated by the Board of Control. 

(h) To declare a vacancy if a Member of the Council 
fails to attend four meetings of the Council in 
succession. 

(i) To maintain a regular list of all contributors. 

(j) To arrange for the convening of the meeting of the 
General Body of the members of the Sabha and the 
meetings of the Board of Trustees and the Board 
of Control. 

21. The Council will at its first meeting elect from its 
own members one Chairman, one General Secretary and one 
Treasurer. Besides these the Council may elect one or more 
of its members to act as Assistant Secretaries or Organizing 
Secretaries to be in charge of specific functions or activities. 
Any vacancies in the post of these office bearers occurring 
during the course of the year may be filled at the next ordinary 
monthly meeting by the remaining members of the Council 
by a resolution duly passed at a meeting to be called for the 
purpose. 


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402 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

22. The Chairman, General Secretary and Treasureres will 
be jointly responsible for the proper deposit and withdrawal 
of moneys belonging to the Sabha. They will deposit the 
moneys in the name of the Trustees of Sabha in the Bank 
or Banks appointed by the Council. 

23. All withdrawals of money will be in strict conformity 
with the Budget and will be operated upon under the joint 
signatures of the Chairman, General Secretary and Treasurer. 

24. The meetings of the Council will be ordinary or special. 

25. All receipts and withdrawals of moneys of the Sabha 
shall be placed before the next ordinary monthly meeting 
of the Council. 

26. Ordinary meeting of the Council will be held on or 
about the 15th of every month. 

27. Any ordinary meeting adjourned for want of quorum 
will again meet on five days’ clear notice on such day as the 
Chairman or in his absence, the General Secretary may fix. 

28. Seven days’ clear notice is necessary for the ordinary 
meeting of the Council and the agenda must be circulated 
with it. 

29. The ordinary meeting of the Council will transact 
business as under: 

(a) Reading of Minutes of the last meeting. 

(b) Passing of montly statements of accounts and 
reports from the institutions, brances of the Sabha 
and of activities. 

(c) Disposing of letters, proposals and other 
communications submitted by the Secretaries. 

(d) Deciding upon questions relating to the general 
administration of the affairs and estate of the 
Sabha. 

(e) Passing of bills and expenditure incurred. 

(f) Any other business with the permission of the 
Chairman. 


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BAHISHKRIT HITKARINI SABHA 403 

Special Meeting of the Council 

30. The Chairman or Secretary may convene a special 
meeting of the Council at 3 day’s notice. 

31. Any four members of the Council may, by a written 
requisition to the General Secretary call for a special Meeting 
of the Council which will be Summoned by him within 10 
days from the receipt of the requisition. 

32. The requisition will specify its purpose and the same 
will be circulated along with the notice of meeting. 

33. The rules as to quorum at an ordinary meeting will 
also apply to the special meetings of the Council. 

Chairman 

34. The Chairman will : 

(a) Preside at all meetings of the Council and in case 
of equality of votes he shall have a casting vote 
in addition to his own as a member : 

Provided that in the absence of the Chairman such 
member of the Council as may be voted to the chair 
will preside and will exercise such of the powers 
of the Chairman as pertain to the conduct of the 
meeting of the Council 

(b) decide all questions of order and procedure at the 
meeting of the Council and his decision will be 
final 

(c) sign all vouchers 

(d) carry on all foreign correspondence of the Sabha 

(e) communicate to the President and Vice-Presidents 
the minutes of the business transacted at the 
ordinary and special meetings of the Council. 

General Secretary 

35. The General Secretary will : 

(a) be responsible for and be in charge of all the records 
of the Sabha 


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404 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

(b) convene all meetings of the Council, Board of 
Trustees and the Board of Control whenever 
necessary, according to Rules of the Sabha and will 
record minutes of proceedings of their meetings 

(c) call for the monthly statements of accounts and 
other reports from the heads of institutions and 
brances of the Sabha and will record minutes of 
proceedings of their meetings 

(d) carry on the home correspondence of the Sabha 

(e) keep a proper register of the members of the Sabha 
with their proper addresses 

(f) submit an annual report to the General Meeting 
of the Sabha. 


Treasurer 

36. The Treasurer will : 

(a) receive all subscriptions and donations collected 
on behalf of the Sabha and pass receipts for the 
same 

(b) keep regular books of accounts 

(c) make all disbursements 

(d) prepare and submit to the Council every year a 
statement of income and expenditure of the Sabha 
including statements of separate accounts of the 
various institutions properly audited by the Auditor 
appointed by the Sabha at the previous Annual 
General Meeting and forward the same to the 
Secretary for being annexed to the Annual Report 
of the Sabha. 

Board of Control 

37. The Board of Control will be the collective body of the 
Sabha and will consist of: 

(a) The Trustees of the Sabha 

(b) The workers of the Sabha 

(c) Patrons 


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BAHISHKRIT HITKARINI SABHA 405 

(d) Life members 

(e) Sympathisers 

(f) Associate members 

(g) One representative of every Branch of the Sabha. 

(h) The President, Vice-Presidents, the Chairman, 
General Secretary, Assistant Secretaries, Organizing 
Secretaries and the Treasurer. 

38. The Board of Control will supervise the management 
of the affairs of the Sabha by the Council of Management 
whether or not it is in accordance with the rules and in 
case of any serious breach the President or any of the Vice- 
Presidents may call upon the Chairman of the Council to 
give proper explanation. 

39. The President of the Sabha, of his own motion or at 
the written requisition of 10 members of the Sabha may 
call upon the Secretary to convene a meeting of the Board 
of Control which will be summoned within a month and a 
half from the receipt of the communication of the President 
in that behalf. The Council of Management will be bound 
by the resolution of the Board of Control on the matter in 
question, if passed by 2/3rd majority of the members present 
at the meeting. 

40. There shall be previous notice of one month for every 
meeting of the Board of Control. 

41. The President of the Sabha will preside at every 
meeting of the Board of Control. In his absence, any of the 
Vice-President present at the meeting may be voted to the 
Chair. 

42. At all meetings of the Board of Control majority vote 
will prevail except when it is otherwise provided for by these 
Rules. 

43. The General Secretary will be the ex-officio Secretary 
of the Board of Control and shall be responsible for recording 
the minutes of the preceedings of the Board which will be 
prepared and signed by the President before the meeting is 
dissolved. 


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406 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

General Body of The Sabha 

44. There will be held every year in the month of February, 
a Meeting of the General Body of members of the Sabha. 

45. The official year of the Sabha will close on the 31st 
December and the Annual General Meeting will be held every 
within two months after the close of the previous official year. 

46. Only those members who have paid their subscription 
will be entitled to vote. 

47. There will be a month’s previous notice for the meeting 
of the General Body of the members of the Sabha. 

48. The President of the Sabha will preside at the Annual 
General Meeting of the Sabha. In his absence any of the Vice- 
President who is voted to the chair may preside. 

49. The following business shall be transacted at the 
Annual General Meeting : — 

(a) To hear and adopt the Annual Report for the past 
year. 

(b) To elect 12 members for the Council of Management 
for the coming year. 

(c) To appoint an auditor for the coming year. 

(d) To elect one President and Vice-Presidents, not 
more than six for the coming year. 

50. These articles of association and Rules of Consitution 
may be altered, amended, repealed or added to at any time 
by a vote of the 4/5th of the members of the Sabha present 
at a meeting specially convened for that purpose, provided 
that the same alteration, amendment, repeal or addition shall 
not have any force unless it is approved of by 3/4th of the 
Trustees of the Sabha. 

• • 


Activities of the Bahishkrit Hitkarini Sabha at Bombay . 
See appendix — XI 


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2 

DEPRESSED CLASSES INSTITUTE 

Dr. B. R. Ambedkar had attended the First Round Table 
Conference at London, in the year 1930. During his stay, 
he drafted an appeal on behalf of the Depressed Classes 
Institutes to get the financial assistance from the Head of 
the Princly States for the upliftment of the Untouchables. As 
a result of his efforts he got the financial assistance. He did 
this work vigorously. Similarly at the time of Second Round 
Table Conference he drafted the appeal in November 1931 
and distributed. 

This is the text of an appeal. 

Appeal 
on behalf of 

the Depressed Classes Institute 
ORGANIZATION 

The Depressed Classes Institute is an organization of 
the Depressed Classes which is conducted by members of 
the Depressed Classes in the interest of the Depressed 
Classes. The aim of the Institute is to raise the 
Depressed Classes from their present-day down-trodden 
condition to a status of social and political equality in 
Indian Society and to promote their economic welfare. 

The Institute was established in June, 1925, and has been 
functioning since then. The Institute is intended to be an All 
Indian Organization with branches all over India. But owing 
to want of resources the activities of the Institute are confined 
to the Presidency of Bombay. The Institute functions through 
the agency of social workers who are pledged to work for the 
uplift of the Depressed Classes. They are mainly drawn from 
the Depressed Classes and are scattered over the various 
districts of the Presidency of Bombay. The activities of these 
social workers are* directed and co-ordinated by a managing 
Council of the leading members of the Depressed Classes at 
the headquarters of the Institute located in the city of Bombay. 


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408 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

Activities of the Institute 

During the short period of five years which has elapsed 
since its establishment the work of the Institute has grown to 
such enormous proportions that it is impossible to give even 
a summary of it within the scope of this leaflet. All that can 
be done is to indicate the lines of activity undertaken by the 
Institute in pursuance of its aim, namely; the elevation of the 
Depressed Classes. These activities may be classified under the 
following heads : 

(1) Propaganda. The Institute publishes a newspaper called 
Janata (The People) with the object of enlightening the Depressed 
Classes on their special problems and also on the general problems 
of the day in so far as they affect them. It educates them into a 
realization of their civic rights, ventilates their grievances and 
creates public opinion in favour of speedy redress. The guiding 
principle of the paper is equality. Until last month it was a 
fortnightly paper. It is now converted into a weekly. The Institute 
also publishes other literature from time to time on various 
subjects for the education of the Depressed Classes. 

(2) Civic Rights Campaign. Although there are many cases in 
which the Law allows civic rights to the Depressed Classes there 
are a legion in which custom stands in the way of the Depressed 
Classes benefiting by them. One of the objects of the Institute 
being to secure to the Depressed Classes the enjoyment of their 
civic rights, the Institute has had to tackle all those cases in which 
there is no bar of law but in which the Hindu majority will not 
allow the Depressed Classes to enjoy those rights on the ground 
that such an act is an affront to their dignity and a transgression 
of the social status assigned by custom to the Depressed Classes in 
Indian Society. The complaints made to the Institute by members 
of the Depressed Classes regarding infringements of their rights 
are untold and the volume of work done by the Institute in this 
connection is beyond description, cases in which Depressed Classes 
were refused accommodation in a school, in a bus, in a ferry, or 
in a roadside inn, etc. Besides attending to individual cases of 
infringement of civic rights the Institute takes up what may be 
called test cases for ascertaining the exact legal position of the 
Depressed Classes as to their civic rights in relation to certain 
matters. Three years ago the Institute took the question of the 
right of the Depressed Classes to public water Courses and fought 


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DEPRESSED CLASSES INSTITUTE 409 

a civil suit at an enormous cost, which was decided by the court 
of the First Instance in favour of the Depressed Classes. The 
High Caste Hindus have appealed against this decision and the 
matter is now pending in the Court of Appeal. The Institute 
is agitating for securing to the Depressed Classes a right of 
worship in the Temple and the Institute is also thinking of 
concluding the question by filing a test case in a Court of Law. 

(3) Redress of grievances. Many of the grievances of the 
Depressed Classes arise from administrative action taken by 
the Departments of the Government. It must be borne in mind 
that the Public Service of India is overwhelmingly composed 
of the High Caste Hindus. Their antipathy to the Depressed 
Classes is notorious and the cases in which the administrative 
and even judicial officers have abused their powers by siding 
with the High caste Hindus in disputes between them and the 
Depressed Classes are by no means few. The Institute has paid 
special attention to this matter and has maintained a special 
establishment to make representations to Government on behalf 
of a member from the Depressed Classes aggrieved by an unjust 
order of a Department. The Institute has also taken upon itself, 
in many a case, the burden of an appeal to a higher judicial 
tribunal or has helped a private party to prosecute an appeal 
in cases of wrong done by the lower judiciary whenever the 
case was of general importance to the Depressed Classes and 
which was beyond the means of a private party. 

(4) Welfare Work. One of the besetting sins of the Depressed 
Classes is their poverty. Nine-tenths of their poverty, however, 
is due to the fact that owing to untouchability, almost all 
the avocations of life have been closed to them. The Institute 
since its start has been trying strenuously to improve the 
economic condition of the Depressed Classes. In this connection 
it had to struggle hard for securing the enlistment of the 
Depressed Classes in the department of the State which are 
now closed to them. The efforts of the Institute have been 
remarkably successful. Not only have the Depressed Classes 
secured a larger enlistment in the various departments but 
they have also been able to get admission in departments 
which before this were closed to them on account of their 
Untouchability. Enlistment in the Police department may be 
cited as an instance in point. Another means by which the 
Institute has sought to improve the economic condition of the 


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410 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

Depressed Classes is to secure for them land so that they may 
work as independent farmers. There are many parts of the 
Bombay Presidency in which there is waste land. Government 
leases this waste land at a rental for anyone who cares to take 
it for cultivation. Before the Institute came into existence the 
whole of this Government waste land used to be given to caste 
Hindu farmers. Applicants from the Depressed Classes never 
got a single piece of this waste land from the Revenue Officials 
who had the power of disposal, the Institute has ever since its 
establishment, fought for the right of the Depressed Classes 
to get for cultivation, a fair share of this land and suceeded in 
getting the policy of the Government in regard to the disposal of 
such land modified by a favoured treatment proviso applicable 
to the Depressed Classes. It may now be said to the credit of 
the Institute that, by its efforts, quite a number of Depressed 
Classes families, which were earning their living as agricultural 
labourers, have risen to the status of independent farmers. 

Need of the Institute 

The principle needs of the Institute are three. First is 
the enlargement of its Printing Establishment. The Institute 
maintains a Printing Press of its own called the Bharat Bhushan 
Punting Press. The purpose in having a press of its own has 
been two-fold. One purpose was to have no difficulty in printing 
the newspaper ‘Janata’ which the Institute conducts and other 
propagnada literature which the Institute issues from time to 
time. The other and more important purpose was to make the 
Printing Press a source of income to finance the activities of the 
Institute. The Printing Press, however, far from being a source 
of income has been a burden to the Institute. The Printing 
Press being very small in its equipment., the Institute is not 
able to take either book-work or job-work at the competitive 
rates prevailing in the market, the cost of production on 
a small machine being relatively high. The Institute must 
either enlarge the equipment of the Press or do without the 
Press. The latter alternative is impossible under the present 
circumstances of India, for there is always the probability of 
a conspiracy among printers who are mostly caste Hindus to 
refuse to print a newspaper run by the Depressed Classes. The 
second need of the Institute is for a building of its own for its 
headquarters in Bombay. The Institute is, at present, not housed 


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DEPRESSED CLASSES INSTITUTE 411 

under one roof. Its offices are scattered and are maintained in the 
private apartments of members in charge of the various activities. 
Housing the Institute in rented rooms has its own difficulties. 
The inability of the Institute to bear the expense is, no doubt, 
one of them. The difficulty of getting accommodation in flats 
on account of Untouchability and the liability of being asked to 
vacate at any moment on account of protest made by orthodox 
tenants are factors which often come in the way of the Institute 
getting decent accommodation for housing itself. Under the system 
of scattered offices co-operation and co-ordination of the various 
activities of the Institute have been difficult and the work of the 
Institute has been there by rendered inefficient. The third need 
of the Institute is to have whole time workers to carry on its 
activities. At present the Institute has only part-time workers 
who have undertaken to devote their spare time to carry on this 
work of social uplift. To them the work is largely labour of love. 
This is due to the fact that the Institute is unable to maintain a 
body of workers on full pay. This is the greatest drawback in the 
organization of the Institute and the relief value of the work of 
the Institute to the suffering among the Depressed Classes who 
stand in need of it is considerably diminished on account of the 
inevitable discontinuity and laxity arising from the fact that the 
workers are only spare-time workers. The only way of removing 
the drawback is the engagement of a body of regularly paid 
workers who will devote the whole of their time to social work. 

Wanted £ 40,000 

These three principle needs of the Institute for (1) Press Fund 
(2) Building Fund, and (3) Maintenance Fund are estimated to 
require a capital sum of £40,000. As is well known, much larger 
amounts have been subscribed in support of causes less urgent and 
perhaps less humane than that of Depressed Classes of India. The 
Institute, therefore, hopes that with the support of the philanthropic 
public, it will not be impossible to collect this amount. Like most 
other causes of humanity it is undoubtedly one which seeks to 
bring hope and light to a people who are stagnant and destitute 
and who arc struggling against the forces of darkness. But there is 
something in the cause of the Depressed Classes which gives it a 
pathos all its own. It is not the cause of humanity which is sung 
by reason of misuse of opportunities. It is the cause of humanity 


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412 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 


which has been held down by the opponents in all stubbornness 
to a state of degradation and whose efforts to rise have been 
ruthlessly frustrated all along by orthodex Hinduism. This 
appeal in the interests of the Depressed Classes is not merely 
to Hindus or to Indians. It is made to all members of the 
British Empire whose prime liablility the Depressed Classes 
are. It is also an appeal to Europeans and to Americans as 
well. It is an appeal to all who look upon it as their duty 
to befriend and advance the cause of fallen, or what may be 
more appropriately called, “felled humanity, and the Institute 
trust that this appeal will not go in vain. The sum needed 
is considerable. But it is not beyond the capacity of many if 
they joined to share the burden. 


Last year this appeal succeeded in eliciting, within a very 
short time, the following donations : 

1. H. H. Sir Tukojirao Holkar ex-Maharaja of Indore £ 360 

2. 

H. H. the Nawab of Bhopal 

... £ 

200 

3. 

H. H. the Aga khan 

... £ 

175 

4. 

H. H. the Maharaja of Baroda 

... £ 

150 

5. 

H. H. the Maharaja of Bikaner 

... £ 

100 

6. 

H. H. the Maharaja of Kashmir 

... £ 

100 

7. 

H. H. the Maharaja of Patiala 

... £ 

100 

8. 

Sir Cowasji Jehangir 

... £ 

75 

9. 

Maharajadhiraj of Darbhanga 

... £ 

50 

10. The Chief of Sangli 

... £ 

25 


All these donations are gratefully acknowledged and it 
is hoped that this generous response will be followed up by 
another more generous than the last. 

B. R. AMBEDKAR, 

President, Depressed Classes Institute. 
Permanent Address 
DAMODAR HALL, 

PAREL, 

BOMBAY 12, 

November 1931. INDIA. 


• • 


*Reprinted from a leaflet printed at the Weardale Press, Ltd., 26, gordon 
Street, London, W.C.I, and Bedford. 


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3 

INDEPENDENT LABOUR PARTY 

Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, having discussed with his colleagues, 
formed a Political Party, called Independent Labour Party. 
Aim behind forming the party was to concentrate and solve 
the problems and grievences of the landless, poor tenents, 
agriculturists and workers. On this background Dr. Ambedkar 
was interviewed by the Times of India’ wherein the explained 
the aims and objects of the party. 

Following are the salient features of the Independent 
Labour Party — Editors. 

INDEPENDENT LABOUR PARTY 


Its formation And Its Aims 


(Reprinted from the Times of India 
15th August, 1936) 


Independent Labour Party 


Publications 
No. 1 


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414 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

A new political party has been organised in Bombay 
for the purpose of contesting the elections in the Bombay 
Presidency under the new Constitution to both Chambers of 
the Legislature. It is known as the “Independent Labour Party” 
and has been formed by Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, the Depressed 
Classes leader. 

It appears that originally Dr. Ambedkar’s idea was to 
organise a party exclusively of the Depressed Classes. But 
its programme was specifically worded in terms of the needs 
of these Classes. But at the desire of his friends from other 
classes, he has consented to give a general name to the party 
and has worded the programme in more general terms. The 
Party is open to any one who wishes to stand for election on 
the Party ticket and work in the Legislature in accordance 
with the programme formulated for the purpose. 

BROAD PROGRAMME 

In an interview with a representative of the Times of 
India Dr. Ambedkar declared that having regard to the fact 
that the present was no time for the parties communally 
organised, he had in agreement with the wishes of his friends 
“broadened the name and also the programme of the Party so 
as to permit political co-operation between the other classes 
and the Depressed Classes.” The nucleus of the Party would 
still be the fifteen members of the Depressed Classes. But 
members of the other classes were free to join the party. 

Dr. Ambedkar added that the Depressed Classes possessed 
large voting strength in constituencies in which no seat was 
reserved for them, and it would be possible for them to place 
that voting strength at the disposal of any candidate, who 
cared to become a member of the Party. 

He made it clear that the Party membership was open to 
persons of all creeds and communities, although the Depressed 
Classes votes could by reason of the law be made available 
to persons belonging to such communities and creeds as were 
included in the general electorate. Already some persons from 
other classes had expressed their willingness to join the Party, 
and other who cared to take advantage of that opportunity 
might corresponds with the Secretary of the Party at the 
office, of the Party. 


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INDEPENDENT LABOUR PARTY 415 

Questioned what cohesion the Independent Labour Party 
would have, Dr. Ambedkar pointed out that the Party was 
not going to be a miscellaneous collection of members of the 
Legislature, who after getting elected, each on his own, would 
befriend one another in the Lagislature, and agree to vote 
together. The party would have its roots in the electorate, 
and its members would have fought the election as such, 
would have pledged to the electorate to uphold a common and 
clearly definded programme, and to be bound by the rules of 
discipline framed by the Party. 

Open to All 

Asked what prompted him to select that particular name 
for the Party, Dr. Ambedkar explained that the Party would 
be independent of every other political organisation, although 
it would be ready to co-operate with any other political party 
where co-operation was possible. The Party was a labour 
organisation in the sense that its programme was mainly 
to advance the welfare of the labouring classes. The Party 
believes in having correct ideology suited to the section of the 
people whose interests it regards as paramount. The word 
‘Labodur’ is used instead of the words ‘Depressed Classes’, 
because labour includes the Depressed Classes as well. 

AIMS OF PARTY 

Working The Constitution Despite Defects 

Explaining the programme of the Party, Dr. Ambedkar 
said that it had been formulated after mature consideration 
and in consultation with all those who were interested in it, 
so far as the new Constitution was concerned. 

“The Party recognises that the new constitution is full of 
defects and falls much short of full responsible Government. 
The Party objects to serveral features of the Provincial 
Constituion, particularly the institution of the second Chamber. 
All the same, the party believes in working the Constitution. 
But while prepared to work the Constitution, the party will 
strive to see that the Special Emergency and Reserved Powers 
vested in the Governor, are not exercised in a manner which 
altogether nullifies the system of responsible Governments.” 


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416 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

As regards the economic question 

(1) “the Party will undertake to establish Land Mortage 
Banks, agriculturist producers’, co-operative societies and 
marketing societies with a view to improving the productivity 
of agriculture. 

(2) “The Party thinks that fragmentation of holdings which 
in the opinion of the party is a severe handicap in the way of 
the application of capital and improved methods of cultivation 
to agriculture and is therefore a direct cause of the poverty 
of the agriculturists. 

Pressure of Population 

“The Party, however believes that the fragmentation of 
holdings and the consequent poverty of the agriculturists are 
mainly due to the pressure of population on land, and unless 
the pressure is relieved by draining off the excess population 
subsisting on land, fragmentation will continue, and the 
condition of the agriculturists will remain as poverty-stricken 
as its is today. In the opinion of the party the principal means 
of helping the agriculturists and making agriculture more 
productive consists in the industrialisation of the Province. The 
party will, therefore, endeavour to rehabilitate old industries 
and promote such new industries as the natural resources of 
the Provinces will permit. 

(3) “To raise the efficiency and the productive capacity of 
the people the Party will endeavour to undertake an extensive 
programme of technical education. 

(4) “The Party accepts the principle of State Management 
and State Ownership of industry whenever it may become 
necessary in the interest of the people. 

(5) “The Party willl endeavour to remove all obstacles to 
free and full life and to alter, amend or abolish any economic 
system which is unjust to any class or section of the people. 

(6) “The Party will undertake legislation to protect 
agriculture tenants from the exaction and evictions by the 
landlords in general and in particular the tenants under (a) 
the Khoti System, and (b) the Talukadari System. 


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INDEPENDENT LABOUR PARTY 417 

(7) “The Party will endeavour to provide for the workers, 
agricultural as well as industrial a minimum standard of 
living compatible with civilised life. 

(8) “For the benefit of the industrial workers the party will 
endeavour to introduce legislation to control the employment, 
dismissal and promotion of employees in factories, to fix 
maximum hours of work, to make provision for the payment 
of adequate wages, for leave with pay, and as many amenities 
of life as possible, and to provide payment to the workers of 
bonuses, pensions of other provisions on retirements from 
active work, on account of old age or other incapacity. The 
party will also introduce a scheme of social insurance which 
will provide the workers against sickness, unemployment 
and accident. The party will endeavour to provide cheap 
and sanitary dwellings for the workers. 

(9) “For the benefit of the agricultural workers the party 
will endeavour to extent to them the same benefits which 
it proposes to secure for the industrial workers with such 
modifications as circumstances may require. 

(10) “The Party accepts the principle that it is the duty 
of the State to relieve unemployment, and the party will 
therefore endeavour to carry out this obligation by introducing 
schemes of land settlement and by starting public works 
to provide for the unemployed and the landless labourers. 

(11) “The Party will undertake legislation to protect the 
debtor class from undue exactions, usurious delings and 
fraudulent transaction of the money-lenders and endeavour 
to tackle the problem of rural indebtedness. 

(12) “The Party will undertake legislation to afford 
adequate protection to the lower middle class in the matter 
of house rents, in industrial centres in big cities and towns.” 

Taxation Problems 

The attitute of the Party towards taxation is that 
“it believes that for the improvement in the well- 
being of the people every Government must undertake 
a large number of nation building activities and 
that these activities can be undertaken only when 


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418 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

Government has money in it treasury. This money can come 
mainly from taxation levied on the people. A prosperous 
Government is the best guarantee of good Government. 

“The Party thinks that to preach reduction of taxation as a 
principle and to tell the people that the reduction of taxation 
even at the sacrifice to useful nation-building activities is in 
their interest, is to misguide the people and to deceive the poorer 
classes. This does not mean that the Party wishes to keep the 
system of taxation as it is. On the contrary the Party sees great 
objection to the system of taxation now in operation. The Party 
definitely recognises that the present system of taxation is unjust 
and weighs heavily on the poorer sections of the population. 
The Party will endeavour to rectify this inequity in the general 
system of taxation. The Party has great objections to the present 
system of leavying land revenue and it will undertake legislation 
to make it more equitable and more elastic.” 

SOCIAL REFORM 
Legislation Plans 

With regard to social reform : 

(1) “The Party will undertake legislation for the advancement 
of all necessary social reform (i) to prevent social reformers from 
being outcasted by the orthodox and (ii) to penalise all forms of 
organised attempts at direct action such as terrorism and boycott 
to prevent individuals or classes from exercising the rights and 
liberties given to them by law. 

(2) “The Party will undertake legislation to regulate the 
administration of all public charities with a view to preventing 
the mismanagement and misapplication of the charity funds and 
to secure the use of any surplus that may be left over to the 
advancement of such secular purposes as education etc. 

(3) “The Party will undertake legislation to deal with the 
Problem of beggars and other destitute persons.” 

Rural Reconstruction 

“The attitude of the Party towards rural reconsturction is : 

(1) “The Party will endeavour to make village life cheerful 
by providing as many amenities of life as may be necessary for 
the object in view. 


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INDEPENDENT LABOUR PARTY 419 

(2) “The Party will endeavour to improve village sanitation and 
housing by introducing a scheme of village planning some what on 
the lines of town-planning. 

(3) “The Party will endeavour to establish village libraries, village 
halls, village radious and rotary cinemas in order to modernise the 
outlook of the village and to make him a progressive persons.” 

Education 

In matters of education ; 

(1) “The Party will give effect to the scheme of free and compulsory 
primary education. 

(2) “The Party will undertake a scheme of adult education so as 
to make all people literate. 

(3) “The Party will lay special emphasis on technical education. 

(4) “The Party will endeavour to provide facilities for higher 
education in India and abroad by means of State aid to deserving 
persons from communities which are educationally backward. 

(5) “The Party will undertake legislation to reorganise the 
university education in the Presidency by establishing regional 
universities and to make them teaching universities. The Party 
believes that this is the only remedy by which the course of 
examination which has blasted the intelligence and effort of the 
student population can be removed.” 

Administration 

The altitude of the Party towards the administration is: 

(1) “The Party will endeavour to see that the administration is 
good, efficient and free from corruption. 

(2) “To secure the ends of good and efficient administration the 
Party will endeavour (i) to secure the separation of the Judiciary 
from the Executive and (ii) to amend the Vatan system in a way 
suited to modern conditions. 

(3) “The Party will also endeavour to prevent the administration 
from becoming the monopoly of any single caste or community. 
Consistently with efficiency of administration the Party will 
endeavour to bring about a fair admixture of all castes and 
communities in the administration of the Presidency.” 

• • 


Shri Laxmi Narayan Press, Bombay 2. 


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4 

INDEPENDENT LABOUR PARTY: 

WIDE SUPPORT 

Dr. Ambedkar on aim of Organisation 

The growing influence of the party and the wide spread 
support it was receiving from the progressive elements in 
the Bombay Presidency and outside were emphasised by 
Dr. Ambedkar to a representative of ‘The Times of India’ prior 
to his depature for Geneva by the ‘Lloyd Triestino Steamer 
Conte Verde’ on Wednesday night. 

The Independent Labour Party which was recently formed 
in Bombay has bright chances of success in the forthcoming 
elections to the new Provincial Legislature according to 
Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, Leader of Depressed Classes, who formed 
the party. 

Dr. Ambedkar pooh-poohed the claim of the Congress 
that it would safeguard the interests of the masses and was 
emphatic that the “exploiters in the Congress will not allow 
it to work for the masses.” 

“I have been agreeably surprised to find that the publication 
or the aims and objects of the Independent Labour Party has 
aroused considerable interest among the General Public,” said 
Dr. Ambedkar, referring to the numerous inquiries that were 
being made regarding the future programme of the party. 

Branch in Central Provinces 

“A Branch of the Party has already been formed in the 
Central Provinces,” he added,” In the Bombay Presidency, a 
large number of persons of different classes and communities 
have generously responded by joining the Party. 

“The economic programme of the Party, as also its social 
and educational Programme, and the fact that the Party has 
not been organised on communal lines have met with wide 
acceptance. Although the Party is in its infancy, it is gaining 
wide-spread support from various progressive elements all 
over the Presidency.” 


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INDEPENDENT WIDE SUPPORT 421 

Fundamental Differences 

There were two fundamental differences between the 
programme and the policy of the Congress and that of 
the Independent Labour Party. The Congress wanted to 
capture the legislatures with a view to destroying the new 
constitution. The Independent Labour Party, on the other 
hand, wished to enter the legislatures in order to work that 
constitution for what it was worth. 

The Congress claimed to safeguard the interests of the 
masses, so did the Independent Labour Party. But, added 
Dr. Ambedkar, the Independent Labour Party feels that by 
its very composition the Congress is not free to serve the 
masses. The Congress is a heterogeneous body composed of 
the exploiters as well as exploited, and it is quite certain that 
the exploiters in the Congress will not allow the organisation 
to work for the massess. 

A combination of the exploiters and exploited might be 
necessary for the purposes of achieving political freedom, 
but to seek to form a common party consisting of exploited 
and exploiters for purposes of social reconstruction was to 
deceive the masses, continued the leader of the Depressed 
Classes. 


Membership of Party 

The Independent Labour Party, in Dr. Ambedkar’s opinion 
did not want to increase its strength in the legislature by 
admitting anybody and everybody in its fold. The Party 
wanted to avoid being a collection of heterogeneous elements. 

“Confining its membership to persons who accept its 
programme without reservation and who have on other 
affiliations,” said Dr. Ambedkar, “the Party has decided to 
put up fewer candidates for the ensuring elections than it 
was possible for the party to do.” 

Although there was work to be done in the legislatures, in 
the view of his party there was much more important work 
to be done outside the legislatures in educating the masses, 
placing before them the correct ideology and organising them 
for political action through the legislatures. 


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422 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

Appeal to Public 

Dr. B. R. Ambedkar thought that a party like the 
Independent Labour Party was necessary and appealed to 
all workers, peasants and the lower, middle classes to join 
it in large numbers and thus make it a mass organisation. 
He also stated that for the purpose of educating the masses 
and carrying on propaganda a committee consisting of eight 
persons had been appointed. 

In addition to the candidates nominated to seats reserved 
for the Scheduled Castes, the Independent Labour Party has 
decided to put up for the present the following candidates 
for election to the Bombay legislature : — Mr. A. V. Chitre 
(Ratnagiri North), Mr. S. V. Parulekar (Ratnagiri South), 
Mr. S. G. Tipnis (Kolaba), Mr. V. A. Gadkari (Poona East), 
Mr. C. T. Ranadive (Thana South), and Mr. B. V. Pradhan 
(Khandesh East).” 1 

• • 


The Times of India, Thursday, 12th November 1936 
1: Reprinted : Khairmode, Vol. 7, Pp. 50-53. 


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5 

I HAVE CHOSEN BOMBAY AS A PLACE FOR 
THE COLLEGE FOR THREE REASONS 

Dr. B. R. Ambedkar submitted an application to the Government 
of India for a loan for setting up a college in Bombay. This is the 
text of the application — Editors 

To, 

The Hon’ble Sardar Sir Jogendra Singh, 

Member-in-Charge of the Department of Education, 

Health and Lands, New Delhi. 

Sir, 

I beg to submit this application to the Government of India for 
a loan without interest Rs. 6,00,000 (Rupees Six Lakhs) for setting 
up College in Bombay for the promotion of Education among the 
Scheduled Castes and pray that it may be favourably considered. 

2. The Hartog Committee which was appointed in 1930 to 
examine the condition of education in India and its spread among 
the various communities summarized the position regarding the 
spread of education among the Scheduled Castes which were then 
called the Depressed Classes in the two following tables which are 
taken from its Report (page 220): — 

TABLE— XCIV 

Number of depressed classes (boys and girls) under instruction by 
stages and by provinces 


Province 

(1) 

Primary 

stage 

(2) 

Middle 

stage 

(3) 

High 

stage 

(4) 

Collegiate 

stage 

(5) 

Madras 

224.873 (a) 

2,647 (b) 


47 

Bombay 

58,651 (a) 

730 (c) 


9 

*Bengal 

310,398 

8,787 

5,996 

1,670 

United Provinces 

88,383 

1,367 

42 

10 

Panjab 

14,284 

914 

110 

Nil 

Bihar & Orissa 

24,574 

52 

7 

Nil 

Central Provinces 

33,123 

1,022 

59 

16 


(a) Number in primary schools only. 

(b) Number in middle and high stages. 

(c) Number in primary, middle and high stages of secondary schools. 


*In taking these figures for Bengal the Committee drew attention to the 
fact that they included class not ‘depressed’. 


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424 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

TABLE— XCV 

Pupils of the depressed classes in institution for girls by 
stages and provinces 


Province 

Primary 

stage 

Middle 

stage 

High 

stage 

Collegiate 

stage 

(1) 

(2) 

(3) 

(4) 

(5) 

Madras 

7,276 

230 

14 

2 

Bombay 

5,739 (a) 

159 (a) 

1 (a) 

Nil 

*Bengal 

28,086 

49 (b) 

5 (b) 

3 (b) 

United Provinces 

2,204 

8 

1 

Nil 

Panjab 

398 

2 

Nil 

Nil 

Bihar & Orissa 

2,210 (c) 

Nil 

Nil 

Nil 

Central Provinces .. 

521 (c) 

3 (c) 

Nil 

Nil 


(a) Includes aborigines, Hill and Criminal Tribes. 

(b) Includes all backward classes. 

(c) Number of girls in boy’s school and Girl’s schools. 


3. This is a most deplorable state of affairs. Between 1929 
and now some inprovement might have taken place although 
there is no exact data to measure the progress. But the fact 
that the Departments in the Government of India have not 
been able to fill the quota of the 87, p.c. of the vacancies 
reserved for the Scheduled Castes by the Government of India 
by its Resolution of 1943 due to insufficiency of qualified 
candidates is an indication that the condition of education 
among the Scheduled Castes reproted to be existing in 1929 
has not materially altered during the interval. 

4. From the point of view of raising the status of the 
Scheduled Castes and from the point of view of giving them social 
security from those elements in Indian Society which are hostile 
to them higher education particularly College education is more 
important to them than primary education. The welfare of the 
Scheduled Castes depends entirely upon a sympathetic public 


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I HAVE THREE REASONS 425 

service and that the public service if it is to be sympathetic 
must be representative of the different element in the national 
life of the country, and particularly of the Scheduled Castes. 
Further the representation of the Scheduled Castes in Public 
Services if it is confined to ministerial post can be of no use 
to the community in its struggle for uplift no matter how 
numerous are the posts that are given to them. Primary and 
Secondary education for a Scheduled Caste student may be good 
from the standpoint of providing a career for an individual. 
But it cannot raise the condition of the Scheduled Castes. The 
status and condition of the Scheduled Castes will be improved 
only when the representatives of the Scheduled Castes come 
to occupy executive posts as distinguished from ministerial 
posts. Executive Posts are strategic posts, posts from which 
a new direction can be given to the affairs of the State. The 
attainment of Executive post, it is obvious, requires a high 
degree of education. Consequently the primary aim in the 
education of the Scheduled Castes should be to make provision 
for those students who reach the College stage so that they 
may be able to complete it and thereby fit themselves for 
Executive posts. 

5. There are a number of reasons why the Scheduled Castes 
students drop out when they have reached the College statge. 
The first and foremost reasons is their poverty, second is 
difficulty in getting admission in a College, third is absence of 
freeships and fourth is want of hostel accommodation. Some of 
these difficulties can of course be overcome by financial aid from 
Government. But there is one difficulty that cannot be solved 
by financial aid. It relates to admission in Colleges. Admission 
in Colleges are fixed in number either by University or by 
Government. Only a certain number of boys can be admitted. 
This creates a great difficulty in the way of the Scheduled 
Castes students who wish to pursue College education. This 
appears to be a general difficulty. But it hits hard the Scheduled 
Castes students far more than it does students of other 
Communities. This is due to the fact that College education is 
in Private hands, and most of the Colleges are run by private 
bodies which are communal in their organization and in 


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426 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

the matter of their staff. The outlook of the Colleges is on 
this account largely communal. This communal outlook has 
its effect on granting admissions. The result is students 
belonging to special communities or higher communities get 
preference in the matter of admissions and students belonging 
to the Scheduled Castes are either refused admissions on 
the ground that the numbers are full or are considered last 
when only a few vacancies are left. The situation has been 
considerably worsened by the influx of population in large 
towns where most of the Colleges are concertrated. The 
enormously increased number of students wanting to enter 
Colleges has made admission a matter of greater difficulty 
than it was before. 

6. Such a situation cannot be allowed to continue. It must 
be remedied immediately. The only effective remedy seems 
to be to establish Colleges in Selected Centres which have 
the education of the Scheduled Castes as its primary aim. 
The other Communities do not mind this competition for the 
simple reason that most have got their own Colleges. This is 
true of other Minority communities such as Sikhs, Muslims, 
Indian Christians and Anglo-Indians, each of which” maintain 
under their control various Schools and Colleges in which the 
education of their communities receives first consideration. 
But the Untouchables having no such institution at their 
command suffer most from this competition for admission. 1 
propose to make a beginning by starting a College in Bombay 
which will have such an aim and will endeavour to carry it 
through. According to my calculations it will require a sum 
of about Rupees Six Lakhs to set up such a College. In pre- 
war time it could have been done with a lesser amount. But 
having regard to the rise in the cost of material I do not think 
that the College could be stalled on anything less than this 
amount. As to the rasing of this amount it is impossible to 
expect the Scheduled Castes who are the poorest community 
in India to be able to raise this amount. I am therefore 
obliged to request the Government of India for a loan of the 
amount without interest to be repaid by suitable instalments. 
The properties of the proposed College will be mortgaged to 
Government as a security for the loan. 


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I HAVE THREE REASONS 427 

7. I mention below some important particulars about the 
proposed College in order to indicate how it will function : — 

I. It will be managed by a duly constituted body 
registeredunder the Charitable Societies Act, 

II. It will have two sides Arts and Science. 

III. It will be non-Communal in as much as : 

(i) It will be open to students of all Castes and creeds, 
only it will pay special regard to the educational 
interests of the Scheduled Castes students. 

(ii) The teaching staff will be mixed staff. There 
will be no bar on the ground of race, religion or 
community. 

(iii) Subject to the Regulations of the Universities in 
India it will be open to Scheduled Castes students 
of all Provinces without any kind of discrimination. 

8. I have chosen Bombay as a place for the College for 
three reasons. Firstly, I propose to take upon myself the 
duties of the Manager of the College and also take part in 
teaching as soon as I am free from the responsibilities of my 
present office. In the initial stage I feel I must take these 
responsibilities on my own shoulders. This I can do better if 
the College is located in Bombay. Secondly, there is an acute 
need for more Colleges to provide College Education to the 
enormous number of students who have now congragated 
in Bombay and who cannot find admission in any of the 
existing Colleges. According to press reports applications for 
opening ten new Colleges are pending before the Senate of the 
University of Bombay which shows how vast in the number of 
students in want of admission. With the prospect of drawing 
a large number of these into the College I feel confident that 
the College will pave its way and there is every chance of the 
College showing profit. Thirdly, having been a professor of 
Economics in the Sydenham College of Commerce, Bombay, 
Principal of the Government Law College, Bombay, a Member 
of the Senate and Syndicate of the Bombay University I feel 
that 1 can get recognition for the proposed College more 
readily from the Bombay University than from a University 
outside that Province. 


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428 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

9. I have selected a site for the College with an approximate 
area of six acres. It belongs to the Bombay Municipality. It is 
the only site left in Bombay which can be regarded as suitable 
for a College. If I lose the site I shall have to abandon my 
project which will be a great valamity. I can proceed with 
the negotiations only on the assurance that I can raise funds 
which is I have said I can do only by way of loan from the 
Government of India. I do not proposed to draw the amount 
of loan immediately. It will remain with the Government of 
India. It will be drawn as and when need to draw arises. 

10. As I am anxious to secure the site I shall be grateful 
if my application is granted without delay. 


1st February 1945, 
22, Prithviraj Road, 
New Delhi. 


I remain, 

Yours faithfully, 

(Sd.) B. R. Ambedkar 


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6 

Memorandum of Association 
of 

THE PEOPLE’S EDUCATION SOCIETY 

MUMBAI 


(Estd. 8th July, 1945) 


Founder: 

Dr. B. R. Ambedkar 

M.A. Ph.D., D.Sc, 

LL.D., (Columbia). D. Litt., (Osmania) Barrister-at-Law. 


Head Office: 

Anand Bhavan, 

Dr. Dadabhai Naoroji Road, 
Fort, Mumbai-400 023. 


Registered under the Society’s 

Registration Act XXI of 1860. Registration No. 1375 of 1945-46 
Date 9th July, 1945 and the Bombay Public Trust Act, 1950 
(Bombay XXIX of 1950) Registration No. F 303 (Bom.) 

Dated : 2nd June 1953. 


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430 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

PEOPLE’S EDUCATION SOCIETY, MUMBAI. 
Bard of Trustees 

1. Shri K. B. Talwatkar (Trustee) 

2. Hon’ble Shri K. H. Ranganath (Trustee) 

3. Shri S. S. Rege (Trustee) 

Members of the Governing Body 

1. Dr. S. P. Gaikwad, G.C.A.M. (Chairman) 

2. Shri S. S. Rege, B. A., Dip. LIB. Sc. (Dy. Chairman) 

3. Shri K. B. Talwatkar, M. A., LL.M., S.E.M. 

4. Dr. P. T. Borale, B. A., LL.B., Ph. D. (Law) 

5. Shri M. S. Moray, B. A., LL.M. 

6. Prof. S. K. Mohagaonkar, M.Com. 

7. Hon’ble Shri K. H. Ranganath, B.Sc., B.L. 

8. Padmashri Dr. M. L. Shahare, M.Sc., Ph.D. 

9. Prof. S. L. Khot, M. A., LL.M., 

10. Prof. Arun M. Donde, M.A., LL.B., Ex. MLC. 


Secretariate 


Prin. D. J. Gangurde, M.Com., LL.M., Secretary 


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PEOPLE’S EDUCATION SOCIETY 431 

MEMORANDUM OF ASSOCIATION OF THE 
PEOPLE’S EDUCATION SOCIETY, MUMBAI. 

Name and objects of the society 

1. The society shall be called the People’s Education Society 
and shall be managed and administered by the Buddhists. 

2. The office of the Society shall be at Bombay or at such 
other place as may be decided from time to time. 

3. The aims and objects of the society shall be 

(a) To provide facilities for education, secondary, collegiate, 
technical, physical and the like; 

(b) To start, establish, conduct and/or aid educational 
and Buddhist religious associations such as schools, colleges, 
vihars, hostels, libraries, playgrounds, Buddhist Institutes etc. 
at suitable places in the State of Maharashtra as well as any 
other parts of India; 

(c) To provide facilities for education of the poor and the 
Buddhists; 

(d) To create and foster general interest in education 
among the Scheduled Castes and Buddhists who are converted 
from amongst the Scheduled Castes and in particular to give 
them special facilities, scholarships and freeships for higher 
education; 

(e) To promote science, Buddhist and other literature and 
fine arts and to impart useful knowledge in comparative 
studies of religion; 

(f) To purchase, take on lease or otherwise acquire property 
for the Society and to invest and deal with the moneys of 
the Society in such manner as may from time to time be 
determined; 

(g) to construct, maintain, rebuild, repair, alter, replace or 
reinstate houses, vihars, buildings or works for the purpose 
of the society; 

(h) to sell, dispose off, improve, develop, exchange, lease, 
mortgage or otherwise alienate or deal with all or any property 
of the Society; 


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432 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

(i) to co-operate, or affiliate the Society or any Institution 
or Institutions run by or belonging to the Society with a 
view to securing further advancement of the aims and 
objects of the Society especially of Buddhists; 

(j) to raise money with or without security for carrying 
out any of the propose, aims and objects of the Society; 

(k) to procure the Society to be registered or recognized 
in any state in India; 

(l) to do all other lawful things and acts as are incidental 
or conducive to the attainment of any of the aforesaid aims 
and objects. 


II - Subscribers and patrons 

4. Any person paying Rupees ten per year as subscription 
to the Society shall be eligible to be enrolled as a subscriber 
of the Society and shall be entitled to the privileges of the 
subscriber. 

5. Any person paying a lump sum donation of Rs. 500 
or more to the Society shall be eligible as a patron of the 
Society and shall be entitled to the privileges of a patron. 

Ill - Control and management 

6. The Sociey shall have 

(i) A Governing Body; 

(ii) A Bard of Trustees; 

(iii) A General (originally managing) Council; 

And 

(iv) An Executive Committee for every College, Vihar, 
School or other institution or a group thereof as the 
Governing Body may decide for the Management of its 
affairs. 

7. The Governing Body shall consist of eleven members. 
Out of these eleven not less than seven shall be persons 
from amongst the Buddhists who are converted from amongst 
the Scheduled Castes. 


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PEOPLE’S EDUCATION SOCIETY 433 

7. (a) The Governing Body shall have power to invite 
any person or persons to be ex-officio members of the 
Governing Body for per poses specified in a special 
resolution making such appointments. Such a person shall 
have no right to vote on any question which falls outside 
the scope or purpose for which he has been appointed. 

Where any dispute arises as to whether the question 
falls within the scope or the purpose, the decision of the 
Chairman shall be final. 

8. The Board of Trustees shall consist of three persons 
appointed by the Governing Body from among its own 
members. Of these, at least two shall belong to Buddhists 
converted amongst the Scheduled Castes. 

9. All the properties and funds of the Society shall 
vest in the Board of Trustees, save as herein otherwise 
provided. 

9. (a) The Board of Trustees shall have the rights to 
sue and be sued on behalf of the Society in respect of 
the properties and funds of the Society. 

10. (1) There shall be a General Council to supervise 
and co-ordinate the work of all institutions of the Society. 
The General Council shall consists of not less than fifteen 
members nominated by the Governing Body. Out of these 
15 members 11 shall be from the Governing Body of whom 
8 shall be from the Buddhists who are converted from 
amongst the Scheduled Caste members of the Governing 
Body. The rest shall be from the subscribers and patrons. 

(2) Unless otherwise provided by the Governing Body 
the head of every institution will be an Ex-officio member 
of the General Council. 

(3) The Resolutions of the General Council shall be 
recommendatory only. 

11. For every College, Vihar, School or Institution of the 
Society or a group thereof as Governing Body may decide there 
shall be an Executive Committee. The Executive Committee shall 
consist of not less than five and not more than seven members 


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434 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

appointed by the Governing Body, one of whom shall be the 
Dean or Principal of the College or School or Institution, 
the Registrar of the institution, not less than two from the 
Buddhists who are converted from the Scheduled Castes 
and one who in the opinion of the Governing Body is an 
Educationist. 

12. The Chairman of the Governing body, who shall be 
Buddhist, shall be an Ex-officio member and Chairman of 
the Board of Trustees, General (Originally Managing) Council 
and all Executive Committees. He will be a member of these 
Bodies in addition to the number of members specified in the 
above clauses. 

12. (a) (1) The Executive authority of the Society shall 
vest in Chairman. 

(2) All deeds, documents and assurances requiring to be 
executed by or on behalf of the Society may be executed by 
the Chairman alone and shall be binding on the Society. 

13. The supreme control and Governance of the Society, 
its institutions, its property and its funds shall be vested in 
the Governing Body. 

14. The first members of the Governing Body shall be 

1. The Hon’ble Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, M.A., Ph.D., D.Sc, 
Barrister-at-Law, New Delhi. 

2. Rao Bahadur, N. Shivraj, B.A.,B.L., M.L.A., Madras. 

3. Daulatrao Gulaji Jadhav, B.A., LL.B., Bombay. 

4. Raja Ram Bhole, B.Sc, LL.B., Poona. 

5. J. H. Subbiah, B.A., Secunderabad. 

6. Hirjibhai Khushalbhai Patel, B.A., LL.B., Bombay. 

7. G. T. Meshram, New Delhi. 

8. Rao Bahadur S, K. Bole, Bombay. 

9. M. V. Donde, B.A., Principal, Gokhale Eduction 
Society’s High School, Parel, Bombay. 

10. S. C. Joshi, M.A., LL.B., New Delhi. 

11. M. B. Samarth, Barrister-at-Law, Bombay. 


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PEOPLE’S EDUCATION SOCIETY 435 

The Hon’ble Dr. B. R. Ambedkar shall be the first 
Chairman of the Governing Body and after him he shall 
always be a Buddhist. 

15. The membership of the Governing Body and Board 
of Trustees may terminate either on death, incapacity, 
resignation or removal. 

16. The term of the office of the members of the General 
(Originally Managing) Council and of the members of the 
Executive Committee other than the Dean or Principal and 
Registar shall be for three years unless terminated by death, 
incapacity, resignation or removal. A person whose term of 
office has expired will be eligible for renomination. The Dean 
or Principal and Registrar shall countinue as members of 
the Executive Committee so long as they hold office as Dean 
or Principal or Registrar. 

17. The Governing Body shall have power to remove any 
member of the Governing body, of the Board of Trustees, 
of the General (Originally Managing) Council and of any 
Executive Committee from the body provided that three- 
fourth of the members of the Governing Body present at a 
meeting specially called for the purpose vote in favour of 
his removal. 

18. The present Chairman of the Governing Body shall 
appoint or nominate his successor. 

19. In case there is no valid nomination of the successor 
to the present Chairman, or the person so nominated refuses 
or fails to accept or ceases to hold the post of any reason 
whatsoever the Chairman shall be elected by the remaining 
members of the Governing Body. 

20. Subject to the provision herein contained all vacancies 
in the Office of the other members of the Governing body, the 
Board of Trustees, the General (Originally Managing) Council 
or the Executive Committee shall be filled by the Governing 
Body provided that a vacancy of Buddhist converted from 
the Scheduled Castes member shall be filled by a person 
belonging to Buddhist who is converted from amongst the 
Scheduled Castes only and no other. 


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436 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

21. The Chairman of the governing Body shall be Executive 
Officer of the Governing Body and will act in consultation with 
the members of the Governing Body in matters of General 
Policy and finances. 

22. (i) The Chairman may appoint a member of the 

Governing Body to act as the Deputy Chairman 
in his absence and delegate to him such authority 
as he may choose to do. 

(ii) The Chairman may also appoint a person to act 
as the Secretary of the Society and prescribe in 
writing the duties of the Secretary, his salary and 
term of his office. 

(iii) The Governing Body may also appoint from among 
themselves one member of the General Secretary 
of the Society. His term of office shall be three 
years. 

23. The Governing Body may appoint necessary staff for 
carrying on its affairs and also for running its institutions, 
fix their scales or pay and service conditions and frame 
standing orders or rules for the guidance and directions of 
the staff, authorities and Bodies of the Society and may frame 
Regulations defining their functions, powers and duties. 

24. For each college, Vihar, School or Institution or a group 
thereof as the Governing Body may decide, the Governing 
Body may appoint a Registrar. 

25. Subject to the superintendence and control of the 
Chairman, the Registrar will work under the head of the 
institution. He will perform all the duties pertaining to the 
day to day administration of the institution in accordance with 
the standing orders and regulations of the Society. 

IV - Funds of the Society 

26. The funds of the society shall consist of grants, 
donations, subscriptions, fees, gifts, etc. received from time 
to time. 

27. Secretary shall maintain proper books of accounts and 
other documents of the income and expenditure of the Society. 


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PEOPLE’S EDUCATION SOCIETY 437 

The accounts of the Society shall be periodically audited by 
the auditors recognised under the Indian Companies Act and 
appointed by the Governing Body. 

28. The Governing Body shall appoint from amongst the 
members of the General Council and Executive Committee, or 
Committee, a Secretary who shall carry on the general work 
of the Council and of the Executive Committee or Committee 
respectively. The tenure of the office of the Secretary shall 
be three years. 

29. An annual statement of receipts and expenditure of 
the Society shall be drawn up by the Secretary of the Society 
and a consolidated statement shall be kept at the Office of the 
Society and shall be opened at all times for inspection of the 
members of the Governing Body, Board of the Trustee, General 
(Originally Managing) Council and Executive Committee, 
Patrons and Subscribers. 

V - General 

30. The Governing Body and other Bodies shall discharge 
their duties and exercise their powers, authorities and functions 
in accordance with the Articles annexed to this Memorandum 
(Schedule - A). 

31. The Governing Body shall have power to alter, 
amend, add or modify the said Articles as may be required 
by circumstances, provided always that such alteration, 
amendments, additions, or modifications shall not be 
inconsistent with the provisions of this Memorandum. 

32. This Governing Body shall have power to alter, 
amend, add or modify this Memorandum save and except 
provision regarding the composition of the Governing 
Body, the Board of Trustees, the General (Original 
Managing) Council and the proportion of representation 
on each such body of the members of Buddhists who are 
converted from amongst the Scheduled Castes, the provision 
regarding the term of the office the first Chairman, 


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438 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

the ex-officio membership of the other bodies of the Chairman, 
contained in clauses 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14, 20, and 21 there 
of provided that three-fourth of the members of the Governing 
Body present at the meeting specially called for the purpose 
vote for such alteration, amendment , addition or modification 
of the Memorandum, 


9th July, 1945. 


Signed 

B. R. Ambedkar 
S. K. Bole. 

M.V. Donde. 

S.C. Joshi. 

M. B. Samarth. 
D. G. Jadhav. 

H. K. Patel. 


SCHEDULE “A” 

ARTICLES FOR THE MANAGEMENT AND 
ADMINISTRATION OF THE PEOPLE’S 
EDUCATION SOCIETY 

1. These Articles shall be called the People’s Education 
Society’s Articles. 

2. The Governing Body shall meet every six months to 
receive and consider reports from all institutions and bodies 
under its control. The other bodies shall hold their meeting 
once in a quarter and as often as may, from time to time, be 
necessary for the transaction of the business of the Society, 
its institutions, etc. as the case may be. 

3. The Governing Body shall hold a meeting to be called the 
Annual General Meeting ordinarily in the month of April each 


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PEOPLE’S EDUCATION SOCIETY 439 

year, at which the General Secretary shall submit his annual 
Statement of Accounts and a report of the work and 
activities of the Society. 

4. The Chairman of the Governing Body in his 
discretion or on a requisition of any three members may, 
at the time, summon a special meeting of the Governing 
Body, Board of Trustees, General Council or Executive 
Committee as the case may be for any cause that seems 
to him or them to be sufficient. 

5. Notices, in writing, of every meeting whether general, 
special or adjourned shall be delivered or sent through 
post to each member ordinarily seven clear days before 
the date of the meeting. But in the case of an adjourned 
meeting the notice may be of such duration as the period 
between the date of the original and adjourned meeting 
will permit. A notice of a meeting shall ordinarily state 
and place, date and hour of the meeting and the work 
to be transacted and a notice of special meeting shall 
further state the specific matter to be discussed thereat. 

6. The number of members required to constitute a 
quorum shall be four for each body for the time being. 

The number of members required to constitute a 
quorum shall be half of the total number of each body 
for the time being. 

6. (a) Every member of the Governing Body or of a 
Committee of an institution of the Society shall attend 
regularly the meeting of the Governing Body or of the 
Committee as the case may be and in the event of 
his inability to attend such a meeting he shall ask in 
writing for permission to be absent from the meeting. 

7. If a quorum shall not have assembled within half 
an hour after the time appointed for any meeting the 
members or member present may adjourn. A meeting 
may be adjourned by the Chairman upon the adoption of 
a resolution to that effect. If at such adjourned meeting 
a quorum is not present the members present shall be 
a quorum. 


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440 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

8. The Chairman of the Governing Body shall preside 
at the meeting of those bodies. Each Body shall at its 
First meeting in April elect a Vice-Chairman for the year 
who shall preside in the absence of the Chairman. When 
both Chairman and the Vice Chairman are absent the 
members shall elect a Chairman for the meeting from 
among themselves. 

9. Unless otherwise provided for in the Memorandum, 
every matter shall be determined by the majority of votes 
of the members present and voting on the question. The 
Chairman shall have a casting vote whether or not he shall 
have previously voted on the same question, but no member 
shall give more than one vote. 

10. Any resolution passed by the Governing Body, General 
Council or Executive Committee may be rescinded or varied 
from time to time by the members at any other meeting of 
the Body concerned. 

11. The Governing Body may, at any meeting, appoint 
a person or a Committee for making an enquiry or for 
transacting any business; but every act and proceeding of the 
person or the Committee shall be submitted to a meeting of 
the Governing Body for approval and, shall not be binding 
upon the Society until approved of by the Governing Body. 

12. Each Body shall maintain a minute-book Record of 
entry into office of a member and of the proceeding of the 
meetings of Bodies shall be entered in the minute-book and 
shall be signed by the Chairman of the meeting either at 
the conclusion thereof or at some future time if they shall 
have been confirmed. 

13. Full account shall be kept in proper books of account, 
to be provided for the purpose of all moneys received and paid 
respectively on account of the Society and of its institution 
such book of accounts shall be made up for each year and 
shall duly audited by qualified auditors, be examined and 
passed by the Governing Body at their ordinary meeting in 
the ensuing year or at some other meeting appointed for 
the purpose and shall thereupon be signed by the Chairman 
of the meeting. 


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PEOPLE’S EDUCATION SOCIETY 441 

14. A list shall be maintained of the subscribers and 
patrons of the Society. 

15. An account for the purpose of the Society shall be 
open and kept with bankers selected by the Governing Body. 
Every sum of money received on account of the Society shall, 
without undue delay, be paid in to the credit of that account 
unless otherwise expressly ordered by the Chairman. 

16. All cheques and orders for the payment of money shall 
be signed by the Chairman of the Governing Body or by a 
person or persons appointed in that behalf by the Governing 
Body. 


Certified to be a correct copy of the Articles. 
5th July, 1945. 


B. R. Ambedkar 
D. G. Jadhav 
S. C. Joshi 


• • 


For Branches of the institution at various places, see Appendix — XII 


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7 

APPEAL 

BY 

The Hon’ble Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, 

M. A., Ph.D., D. Sc, Bar-at-Law., 

Member, Governor General’s Executive Council. 

On Behalf of 

THE PEOPLES EDUCATION SOCIETY 

THAT the Scheduled Castes, commonly known as the 
Untouchables, number about 50 millions is clear from the latest 
Census Report. That the education of the Scheduled Castes is 
at present in a very backward state all over India and that so 
far as higher education is concerned they are very far behind 
the higher classes are well-known facts. That the social and 
economic condition of the Scheduled Castes ail over India is 
deplorable is also an admitted fact. It is further realized by 
all that one of the reasons why the Scheduled Castes have 
not been able to overcome their difficulties and disabilities 
is the lack of education amongst them. From these facts, for 
the solution of the problem of the Scheduled Castes the need 
of a special organization devoted to this particular work will 
be fully recognised. 

There being so far no such organisation, it was decided 
to establish the People’s Education Society. The Society has 
been registered under the Registration of Societies Act, XXI 
of 1860 and is recognized by the Government of India. To 
promote higher education among the Scheduled Castes all 
over India is the chief aim of the Society as will be seen from 
its constitution. 

The Society proposes shortly to open in Bombay a full- 
fledged College for degree courses in both branches, Arts as 
well as Science, and for pass as well as Honours Courses. 
The College is not a sectarian institution. It will be open 
to students of all communities and of all creeds from all 
Provinces and States. The staff of the College will be as 
far as possible cosmopolitan. The special feature of the 
College will be the particular care of the students of the 


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APPEAL 443 

Scheduled Castes, who will be granted facilities in the 
matter of admissions, freeships, scholarships and hostel 
accommodation. The Governing Body of the Society desire to 
make the College a model institution for imparting higher 
education. The Society feels highly encouraged by the fact 
that its project of starting a College in Bombay has received 
the approval of the Government of India, who have been 
pleased to give very substantial aid in meeting the initial 
expenditure. They have agreed to pay to the Society a sum 
of Rs. 6 lakhs, half as a grant and half as a loan without 
interest for that purpose. 

Owing to the abnormal prices of land, building materials 
and scientific and other equipment this sum will fall short of 
the actual requirements. The College will require at least Rs. 
15 lakhs. After taking into account the amount provided by 
the Government of India it will be seen that there will still 
remain a large sum of Rs. 9 lakhs to be collected by way of 
donations. The Society, therefore, has to ask for substantial 
help from other quarters. The Society entertains high hopes 
and trusts that its appeal for financial help for successfully 
carrying out its project will receive sympathetic consideration 
from all those who are interested in the advancement of 
education is general and that of the Untouchables in particular. 

There is a very large population of Scheduled Castes in 
some of the States and the Society, therefore, appeals to 
the Rulers of the States for extending to it a generous help 
in this matter. The Society would be glad to make special 
provision in the College for the Scheduled Castes students, 
as well as for the non-Scheduled Caste students, from the 
States and in particular to agree : 

(1) to reserve a certain percentage for admission to the 
different classes in the College both on the Arts and 
Science side; 

(2) to reserve accommodation in the hostels for students, 
which will be erected as part of the College building; 
and 

(3) to reserve a certain number of freeships and scholarships. 


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444 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

The Society would be prepared to accept any other 
reasonable condition which a State making a donation might 
like to suggest. 

The Society submits that, while the College will derive 
substantial help from such financial contributions, the States 
will also derive great benefit from the College, in that the 
Scheduled Caste subjects of the States will find in the College 
a special institution, charged with the duty of taking special 
interest in the education of the Scheduled Castes. 

The Society, therefore, makes this earnest appeal to the 
Rulers of the Indian States* * and requests them to help 
the Society by making generous contributions towards the 
materialization of the project and thereby afford the much- 
needed facilities for the advancement of higher education, to 
people of the Scheduled Castes in India and their Scheduled 
Castes subject in particular. The Society will be glad to furnish 
any other information that may be required in this connection. 


26-11-1945 B. R. AMBEDKAR 

22, Prithvi Raj Road, 

New Delhi. 


• • 


Printed at, Delhi Press, New Delhi. 

* The Maharaj of Baroda was again approached for financial assistance 
for establishing a College at Bombay for the benefit of the Depressed 
Classes. An Appeal in that connection was made by Mr. K. A. Keluskar, 
on behalf of Dr. Ambedkar — See Appendix XIII. 


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8 

A SOCIAL CENTRE FOR THE UNTOUCHABLES 

IN BOMBAY 

Dr. B. R. Ambedkar was continuously making efforts to 
generate the funds for the movement of Untouchables to bring 
the human dignity in terms of social equality to the Indian 
Community. He was planning to establish a Centre, so as to 
execute and monitor the activities of the Untouchables. He 
appealed probably in 1949, to the Princes and the people of 
India. — Editors. 

To 

The Princes and People of India 
Funds for 

A Social Centre for the Untouchables in Bombay 
The Scheme needs Rs. 3,25,000/- 
Won’t You Help ? 

An Appeal By 

The Hon’ble Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, M.A., Ph.D., D. Sc, 

Bar-at-Law, 

Member, Governor General’s Executive Council 

The New Movement among 
the Untouchables 

The down-trodden and degraded condition of the Untouchable- 
who number today 70 millions of India population — has been 
one of the major problems of India. The work of raising them 
to the level of other communities has engaged the attention 
of many Hindu reformer for ages past. But the phenomenon 
of the Untouchables taking upon themselves the responsibility 
of improving their own lot is quite a new one. It is their won 
struggle for equality and began only 25 years ago. 

This struggle has passed through several stages and 
the movement has gathered strength in spite of repeated 
rebuffs and constant opposition. The message of self-reliance 
has reached even the lowest strata; the backwaters of out- 
of-the way villages and lonely hamlets have been stirred; 
and the sleepy hollows where once rank superstition, 
utter self-debasement and abysmal ignorance reigned 
are now throbbing with new life. The right spirit has 


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446 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

been roused and a real movement has been started. 
A tremendous force for raising the status both of the 
Untouchables and this country can be evoked if this 
movement based on self-respect and self-reliance is 
efficiently organised. It is on behalf of this social movement 
that I make the present appeal. 

People not intimately acquainted with my activities 
may be surprised at my present move on behalf of a 
social movement. They have come to look upon me as a 
politician. As a matter of fact politics has never been my 
obsession. It has been my on and off activity. As a student 
of history I have been profoundly impressed by the view 
that however important political forces may be in the 
regeneration of a community, social, economic and moral 
forces are far more vital and that political forces are only a 
means to the social, economic and moral regeneration of a 
people. I have from the very beginning laid greater stress 
on social movement than on political movement. A very 
large part of 25 years of my public life has been mainly 
devoted to the cause of social uplift of the Untouchables. 
I mention this only to correct the impression that I am 
only a politician. For it is a wrong impression. I want the 
public to realize that I have played no insignificant part 
in giving momentum to the new movement and fostering 
its growth. In support of my statement I cannot do better 
than quote Mr. B. G. Kher, a Congressman and former 
Prime Minister of Bombay, who replying to my speech in 
the Bombay Legislative Assembly on the Ministers’ Salary 
Bill on 23rd August, 1937 said 

“Further (Dr. Ambedkar) made a great deal of competency, 
a point about which there cannot be two opinions. I am obliged 
to the honourable member for referring to the competency of the 
personnel of this Cabinet and for giving us his true opinion. I have 
a very high opinion of his competency. I also know that he has 
been doing such service to the Depressed Classes as no one else 
has been able to do (Hear, hear). May I know from the honourable 
what salary he gets for this service ? I know that the service 
he has been rendering to the cause of the Depressed Classes 
cannot be bought by any amount of money - (Hear, hear). What 


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A SOCIAL IN BOMBAY 447 

the honourable member is doing for the cause of his community 
cannot be measured by any amount of money. Competency does 
not depend at all on the salary that one may get. What pecuniary 
gain does my honourable friend get, may I know, for the very 
competent service that he is rendering to his community ?” * 

I am glad to be able to relie on this reference to me from 
the Congress quarters. It shows that I have mainly devoted 
myself to social work in the past. 

The Need for a Social Centre 

It is my desire that the noble work to which Mr. Kher 
made reference should be put on a lasting foundation and I 
am sure that, that must be the view of all those interested in 
the cause of the Untouchables. There can be no two opinions 
that if movement is to succeed, it must have at its command 
three things, (1) a Central headquarter, (2) a well-trained body 
of devoted workers, and (3) financial stability. Only with these 
means the movement can be placed on a sound and permanent 
footing. 

Of these three, the establishment of a Social Centre as 
Central Headquarter must be regarded as the most fundamental. 
For once a Social Centre is established it will help to co-ordinate 
all social activities necessary for keeping up the movement, under 
the scheme which I have framed. It will also provide income 
to meet the expenditure for running the social activities and 
maintain a body of devoted workers on full time salary basis. 

Suitability of Bombay 

There is no doubt that the Untouchables of every Province 
must have a Social Centre. Indeed it is my plan to provide 
one each. A beginning must however be somewhere and I 
have come to the conclusion that Bombay is a place where 
a beginning may well be made. The spearhead of this 
movement has been provided by Bombay. It is therefore, in 
the fitness of things that the foundations of a systematic 
and permanent organization should be laid in the city of 
Bombay. For these reasons I have selected Bombay to begin 
with. It is proposed to establish a Social Centre in Bombay 
which will serve not only as a model for social, economic and 


* Bombay Legislative Assembly Debates 1937, Vol I, P. 272. 


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448 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

educational activities for the uplift of the Untouchables but also 
as a centre radiating new ideas and co-ordinating the different 
activities into a harmonious whole. 

The scheme of the proposed Social Centre, an outline of which 
is given later on in this Appeal, will show that it contains all the 
elements necessary to make the Centre a popular resort for the 
Untouchables-based on the lines of Social Settlements existing in 
Western Countries - to raise their standard of social and cultural 
life by bringing about a wholesome change in their customs and 
general outlook on life. It will create unity of aim and action 
among them and place the work of social regeneration on a 
permanent footing. The main activities which the Untouchables 
themselves are carrying on at present in Bombay City can be 
brought together at this centre. The serious handicap caused 
by want of a suitable place where all the main activities of the 
Untouchables can be located will be removed by such a Centre. 

Centre will be a Public Trust 

The scope and functions of the Centre will be governed by 
a Registered Trust Deed and the funds will be managed by a 
Board of Trustees. 

The aims and objects of the Centre will be those mentioned 
below :- 

(a) Relief from distress and poverty. 

(b) Advancement of education. 

(c) Relief from tyranny and oppression. 

(d) Securing and safeguarding civil rights and privileges. 

(e) Eradication of social evils. 

(f) Spread of general knowledge and enlightenment with a 
view to eradicating superstitious practices and beliefs. 

(g) Securing and advancing social and religious well-being. 

(h) Promoting organised effort for social and economic 
betterment. 

(i) Securing legislative sanction to measures removing civil, 
social, economic and religious disabilities, disadvantages 
and discrimination. 

(j) Securing the removal of Untouchability. 


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A SOCIAL IN BOMBAY 449 

Functions and Activities of the Centre 

The Centre proposes to maintain a body workers devoted 
to the cause of the Untouchables, whose activities will be 
so planned as to give full effect to the aims and objects of 
the Centre. Below is given an outline of the activities of the 
proposed Centre 

1. Offices — 

The workers carrying on the various activities hitherto 
meet and transact their work either in rented buildings or at 
their own dwelling places. With a view to affording facilities to 
these activities and to co-ordinating them at a central place, 
the offices of all such institutions will be accommodated at 
the Centre. 

2. Quarters for the workers of the Centre — 

Hitherto there has been a band of selfless voluntary workers 
who are engaged in carrying on the activities in their spare 
time. It is now contemplated to knit such workers together 
and give them a well-channelled scope to devote all their time 
and energy to the cause of the Untouchables and the removal 
of their grievances and handicaps. 

3. Public Hall — 

The necessity of a public hall for the Untouchables has 
been an acute one. It is intended to construct a fairly large 
hall accommodating an audience of about 2,500. The hall will 
be used for holding public meetings, women’s and students’ 
gatherings, recreational, educational and other social functions. 

4. Library and Reading Room — 

It is necessary to provide the Untouchables with 
facilities for the cultivation of their minds with a view to 
creating among them a sense of appreciation of ideas, art 
and broad human interests. It is also necessary to provide 
them with means of engaging their attention during leisure 
hours to something higher and nobler than is to be found 
in their drab, dreary life. For this nothing can be more 
efficacious to serve this objective than the institution of 
libraries in Untouchable quarters. This will be one of most 
important activities of the Centre. In addition to this it is 


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450 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

proposed to have a Central Library for students wishing 
to study the problems of the Untouchables. The problem 
of the Untouchables is vast enough to engage the energies 
and attention of many for years to come. There is, however, 
hardly any facility at present for studying the problem in its 
proper perspective and in all its manifold ramifications. It is 
therefore intended to collect the requisite material for such a 
study by establishing a well-equipped Library and a Reading 
Room at the proposed Centre. 

5. Publications Branch — 

The Untouchables are steeped in ignorance and superstition. 
The evil customs and usages practised by them are appalling. 
One of the most urgent necessities is to emancipate them 
from these evil customs and usages. The best way is to issue 
literature of the sort published by the Rationalist Association. 
For this purpose it is also proposed to maintain a small 
printing Press. 

6. Volunteers Organization — 

Thousands of Untouchables youths all over the country, 
markedly in the Bombay Presidency and the Central Provinces, 
have spontaneously formed themselves into organised bands 
of volunteers called the Samata Sainik Dal. The object of this 
movement is to inculcate the spirit of discipline and spread 
the message of the new era among the Untouchables. It is 
intended to centralise this all important activity and spread 
it to other parts of the country. 

7. Propaganda Performances — 

As in the case of the Samata Sainik Dal, a number 
of Untouchable youths in the Bombay Presidency have 
formed clubs and stage dramatic performances, at marriage 
celebrations and other religious and social functions at several 
places callings themselves Jalsa Mandals. These are amateur 
dramatic clubs giving performances of self composed plays 
depicting the evils of baneful social customs on improvised 
stage before illiterate villagers. It is intended to organise on 
a sound basis this very useful activity for dissolving old and 
disseminating new ideas among the masses and to guide it 
and make it more effective. 


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Cost of the Centre 

According to the proposed plan the requirements of the 
Centre are detailed below 


I. 

II. 
1 . 


2 . 


3. 


4. 


Land - 156’ x 132’ about - 2,280 sq.yds. 
value (already taken on lease) .. Rs. 37, 0007- 

Ground rent per year .. Rs. 2, 2007- 

Structures : 


Hall-Building consisting of a 
ground and two upper floors. 
Ground Floor : — Hall 120’ x 62’ 
(with 10’ wide Verandah and 
gallery inside having seating 
accommodation for about 2,500 
persons) Approximate cost. 

Two Upper Floors: — 32 single 
room tenements 16 on each 
floor. 

East Wing Building : — Ground 
and 2 upper floors, 3 double 
room tenements on each floor 
-9 in all 

West Wing Building : Ground 
and 2 upper floors, 3 double 
room tenements on each floor 
-9 in all 

Front Building : — 

Ground and 2 Upper Floors : — 
Ground Floor : — Printing Press, 
Gymnasium and Office. 

Three Upper Floors : — Offices 
on the 1st floor and 13 double 
room tenements on each of the 
remaining 2 floors. 

Total 

Cost of Land 
Grand Total 


Rs, 75,0007- 


Rs. 75,0007- 


Rs. 26,5007- 


Rs. 26,5007- 


Rs. 85,0007- 


Rs. 2,88,000/- 
Rs. 37,000/- 
Rs. 3,25,000/- 


The cost of the Centre is estimated at Rs. 3,25,000/-. The 
estimate is of course based on prices prevailing in normal times. 


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452 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

These stuctures are designed to serve a three-fold purpose. 
The first is to house all activities for the promotion of the 
well-being of the Untouchables under one roof in order to bring 
about co-ordination and prevent dissipation of effort. The second 
purpose is to provide a place for the Untouchables to which 
they can look as a centre of knowledge and inspiration, a place 
which will provide a meeting ground for the Untouchables for 
exchanging ideas, for performing social and religious function 
and act as a centre of culture in which they can take pride. 
The third and the most important purpose is to provide the 
Centre with a permanent source of income to maintain itself 
and to sustain its activities. Most of the buildings are intended 
and planned for being rented out. They will bring rent which 
will keep the Centre going and make it self-supporting. 

An Appeal to the Princes and People of India 

It is a universally recognised fact that the present 
condition of the Untouchables is the most serious blot, from 
the humanitarian point of view, on Hindu Civilization and 
constitutes one of the greatest obstacles to an all-round 
progress of the Indian nation. The problem needs all the 
courage, ingenuity, resources and organising power of all the 
parties concerned for its solution. In spite of the efforts of 
social reformers and politicians the progress hitherto achieved 
is far from satisfactory. In fact, it may be safely asserted, 
that only the fringe of the problem has so far been touched. 
The Untouchables, considered as a mass, are as backward as 
ever. Their aspirations for social, economic, educational and 
political advancement are thwarted at every step, and the 
habit of depending upon outside help which is being insidiously 
cultivated may render the Untouchables unfit to fight their 
own battles. The force which will sweep all the obstacles from 
their path and really emancipate them from their age-long 
bondage can, I am sure, come only from whithin. It is because 
this new movement of the Untouchables is a movement from 
within that I feel sure that will help and encouragement it 
will be a success. 

It may be said that if the Untouchables are anxious to 
undertake the work of their salvation they should also take up the 
responsibility of financing it. I am glad to say that the Untouchables 


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A SOCIAL IN BOMBAY 453 

of Bombay are fully alive to this aspect of their movement. 
They have already come forward to raise a fund for the 
building up of the Social Centre by per capita subscription. 
Every man and woman is prepared to make a contribution 
to this great cause. Some have already paid and many more 
will do so before long. But it is equally true that left to their 
own resources the Untouchables will not be able to raise 
the whole sum. It will be cruel to ask them to depend upon 
themselves. The task of building up the Centre cannot succeed 
without the help of the Princes and People of India. To tell the 
Untouchables to bear their-own burden may be correct. But 
will that be considerate ? Have the Princes and People of India 
no responsibility for the miserable lot of the Untouchables ? 
If they have is it right that they should refuse to help the 
Untouchables on the ground that the Untouchables desire 
to take up the work of their salvation upon themselves ? I 
am sure that the Princes and People of India have a better 
regard for the spirit of self-respect shown by the Untouchables 
than such an attitude would indicate. I am sure there is in 
them a more acute sense of righteous indignation against 
the inequities heaped upon the Untouchables and a keener 
desire to give them the means to enable them to overcome 
these inequities. 

The uplift of the Untouchables must be a joint undertaking 
in which the Untouchables will supply the resolution and 
the inspiration for the movement, the sweat and the toil for 
the movement, and the Indian community must supply the 
money required for the movement. It is for this reason that 
I appeal to the Princes and People of India for financial help 
for the movement. 

The Princes and People of India will not, I am sure, fail 
to realise what tremendous and irresistible force the elevation 
of the Untouchables will supply to the national regeneration 
and reconstruction of India. The Social Centre will of course 
so organise the Untouchables that they will be able to rise 
socially and culturally above their present level, attain the 
status of human beings and live on terms of social equality 
with the rest of the Indian Community. But I am sure that 
will not be the only benefit arising from the activities of the 
Social Centre. The Centre will make them active, true and 
patriotic citizens ready to stand by the cause of the country. 


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454 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

It is on these grounds that I am appealing to all to help 
me to build up of the Centre. It has become a truism that 
without raising the Untouchables the country cannot rise and 
that in their salvation lies the salvation of the country. I am 
tired of repeating truisms. The time for uttering truisms is 
gone. The time for action has come. Deeds and not words are 
wanted. My appeal to the Princes and People of India is made 
in all earnestness and I am confident that they will respond 
to it with large hearted generosity. 


22, Prithviraj Road, 
New Delhi. 


Sd/- B. R. Ambedkar 


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9 

CONSTITUTION OF 

ALL INDIA SCHEDULED CASTES FEDERATION 

The All India Depressed Class conference was held between 
17th to 20th July 1942 at Nagpur. Dr. B. R. Ambedkar attended 
this conference. A resolution was passed unanimously on 19th 
July 1942 to establish “All India Scheduled Castes Federation.” 
‘ All India Scheduled Castes Federation’ and the Constitution 
was made public on 7th September 1942* ** 

That Constitution was amended and finally published in 
January 1955 as under : Editors 

**ALL INDIA SCHEDULED CASTES 
FEDERATION 


CONSTITUTION 


President: 


B. R. Ambedkar, 

M. A., Ph. D., D. Sc, LL. D., D. Litt., 
Barrister-at-Law, 

Member, Council of States. 


Address : 

26, Alipore Road, 

Civil Lines, 

Delhi January 1955. 


*Report of Depressed Class Conference. Nagpur Sessions. Third Session, 
Held on 18th, 19th and 20th July 1942, published on 7th September 
1942, Annexure — No. 4, Pp. 109 — 121. 

**Reprinted from the book printed by K. S. Arora at Thacker’s Press, 
Oak Lane, Fort, Bombay. 


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456 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

Contents 


Part 

I 

Constitution : The Date of its coming into force 

Part 

II 

Federation : Its Aims and objects 

Part 

III 

Organisation : Local .. .. 

Part 

IV 

Organisation : Central .. .. 

Part 

V 

Duties, Powers and functions of Office 
Holders .. .. 

Part 

VI 

Relations between local organisations and 
the Central Executive Committee 

Part 

VII 

Finance .. .. 

Part 

VIII 

Election .. .. 

Part 

IX 

Election Disputes .. .. 

Part 

X 

Selection of Candidates .. .. 

Part 

XI 

Miscellaneous .. .. 

Part 

XII 

Amendment of the Constitution .. .. 

Part 

XIII 

Rules of discipline .. .. 

Part 

XIV 

Transitory provisions .. .. 


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ATI , INDIA SCHEDULED CASTES FEDERATION 457 

PART I 

Date of Coming into Force 

ARTICLE I 

1. This Constitution may be called the CONSTITUTION 
OF THE ALL INDIA SCHEDULED CASTES FEDERATION. 

2. It shall, except as specified in Parts IX and X come into 
force on the 1st of May, 1957. 

PART II 

Aims, Objects and Powers 
ARTICLE II 

1. The aims and objects of the Federation are : 

(i) to organise the Scheduled Castes of India, to educate 
them and to agitate for their social, economic and 
political freedom and to make them strive for their 
well being and advancement; 

(ii) to secure for them equality of opportunity and 
thereby enable them to achieve equal status with 
their fellow citizens in all walks of life ; 

(iii) to engage itself in organising the Peasantry, the 
landless labourers and the workers in factories and 
other wage-earners ; 

(iv) to undertake educational activities such as starting 
of Schools and teaching them arts and crafts; 

(v) to undertake all activities for the moral and 
spiritual elevation of the Scheduled Castes: and 

(vi) to keep a record of all cases of tyrannies and 
oppressions practised upon the Scheduled Castes 
in different parts of the Country. 

2. The Powers of the Federation are : 

(i) to purchase, take on lease or otherwise acquire 
property for the Federation and to invest and deal 
with the moneys of the Federation in such manner 
as may from time to time be determined ; 

(ii) to construct, maintain, rebuild, repair, alter, replace 
or reinstate houses, buildings, or works for the 
purposes of the Federation; 


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458 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

(iii) to sell, dispose of, improve, manage, develop, exchange, 
lease, mortgage or otherwise, alienate or deal with all or any 
property of the Federation; 

(iv) to raise money with or without security for carrying out any 
of the purposes, aims and objects of the Federation; 

(v) to get the Federation registered or recognised in any pan of 
India; and 

(vi) to do all other lawful things and acts as are incidental or 
conducive to the attainment of any of the aforesaid aims and 
objects. 

PART III 

Organisation : Local 

ARTICLE III 

I Local Organisation : 

1. For the purpose of organising the Scheduled Castes under the 
All-India Scheduled Castes Federation there shall be constituted 
the following local organisation : 

(i) The Village Federation Committee; 

(ii) The Taluka Federation Committee; 

(iii) The District Federation Committee; and 

(iv) The State Federation Committee. 

Explanation : Federation Committees in cities with a 
population of more than two lakhs will have the status 
of a District Federation Committee. 

2. A District means an area comprised in a constituency for a 
State Assembly. 

II Central Organisation : 

1. The Central Organisation of the All-India Scheduled Castes 
Federation shall consist of : 

(i) The All India Committee of the Federation; 

(ii) The Central Executive Committee of the Federation; 
and 

(iii) The General Session or Special Session of the Federation. 

2. All the Local Organisations and the Central Organisations 
shall be the Constituent Bodies of the Federation. 


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ALL INDIA SCHEDULED CASTES FEDERATION 459 

ARTICLE TV 

1. Subject to the explanation herein below any person 
belonging to the Scheduled Caste, and 

(1) whose name is on the voters’ list; and 

(ii) who accepts this Constitution shall be a member of the 
Federation and shall have a right to vote in the election 
to any of the Constituent Bodies of the Federation as 
may be Federation and shall have a right to vote in 
the election to any of the Constituent Bodies of the 
Federation as may be provided for by the Rules. 

Explanations : (1) Any person belonging to the Scheduled 
Castes who is not a member of any other political or 
any social or religious organisations whose aims and 
objects are not approved of by the Central Executive 
Committe of the Federation and who has not by word 
or by conduct declined to be a member of the Federation 
shall be deemed to have agreed to be a member of the 
Federation and accept the Constitution. 

(2) Voters’ list means list of voters prepared by the State 
Government for a State Assembly Constituency. 

(3) Scheduled Caste means a caste recognised as such by 
the Constitution of India. 

2. Provision may be made by rules for associate member 
ship of the Federation and the privileges that may be conferred 
on them. An associate member need not be a member of the 
Scheduled Caste. 

ARTICLE - V 

1. The list of Scheduled Caste voters for the Assembly 
Election of a State shall be the register of members on which 
elections to the Constituent Bodies of the Federation shall 
be based. 

2. Every such person shall be qualified to vote and shall also be 
qualified to stand for election unless disqualified by any of the rules 
made in that behalf by or under the authority of the Federation. 


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460 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

ARTICLE VI 

1. For every State recognised by the Constitution of India 
as a State for the time being there shall be a State Federation 
Committee with its headquarters located in the capital of the 
State. 

2. The Primary Unit of the All-India Scheduled Castes 
Federation shall be the Village Committee of the Federation. 

3. The Village Federation Committee shall consist of — 
persons chosen by the Scheduled Castes voters in the village 
and who are members of the Federation. 

4. The Taluka Federation Committee shall consist of — 
members chosen by members of the Village Federation 
Committee within the Taluka, in accordance with the quota 
fixed in the State Working Committee in proportion to the 
Scheduled Caste population of each village to the total 
Scheduled Caste population of the Taluka. 

5. The District Federation Committee shall consist of — 
members chosen by the members of the Taluka Federation 
Committees within each district in accordance with the 
quota fixed by the State Working Committee in proportion to 
the Scheduled Caste population of each Taluka to the total 
Scheduled Caste population of the District. 

6. The State Federation Committee shall consist of — 
members chosen by the members of the District Federation 
Committees within the State in accordance with the quota 
fixed by the State Working Committee in proportion to the 
Scheduled Caste population of each District to the total 
population of the State. 

7. The Village Federation Committee shall elect a Chairman 
from among its own members. The Chairman shall nominate — 
members of the Village Federation Committee to constitute 
a Working Committee. Out of the members of the Working 
Committee the Chairman shall nominate one member to act 
as Secretary and another member to act as a Treasurer. 

8. The Taluka Federation Committee shall elect a Chairman 
from among its own members. The Chairman shall nominate — 
members of the Taluka Federation Committee to constitute a 
Working Committee for the Taluka. Out of the members of the 


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ALL INDIA SCHEDULED CASTES FEDERATION 461 

Committee the Chairman shall nominate one member to act 
as Secretary and another member to act as Treasurer. 

9. The District Federation Committee shall elect a 
Chairman from among its own members. The Chairman 
shall nominate — members of the Committee to constitute an 
Executive Committee for the District. Out of the members 
of the Committee he shall nominate one to act as Secretary 
and another to act as Treasurer. Where there is no District 
Federation the affairs of the District shall be managed by the 
State Executive Committee. 

10. The State Federation Committee shall elect a 
Chairman from among its own members. The Chairman shall 
nominate — members of the Committee to constitute a State 
Working Committee. Out of the members of the Committee 
he shall nominate one to act as Secretary and another to act 
as Treasurer. 


PART IV 

Organisation : Central 
ARTICLE VII 

1. The Central Organisation of the Federation shall include 
the following : 

(i) The President of the Federation; 

(ii) The General Secretary of the Federation; 

(iii) The Treasurer; 

(iv) The All-India Committee of the Federation; 

(v) The Central Executive Committee of the Federation; 

(vi) The All-India Committee of the Federation; and 

(vii) The Session or Special Session of the Federation. 

ARTICLE VIII 

1. The All India Committee of the Federation shall consist 
of — persons chosen by members of the State Federation 
Committees out of their members in accordance with the 
population of Scheduled Castes in each State to the total 
population of Scheduled Castes in India as determined by 
the Central Executive Committee. 


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462 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

2. There shall be a Session of the All-India Scheduled Castes 
Federation every two years. The President of the Session shall 
be chosen by the members of the State Federation Committees. 

3. The President either suo moto or on the requisition by 
one-third of the States Federation of Committees will call for 
a special Session of the All-India Scheduled Castes Federation. 

4. President shall preside over the Session of the Federation. 

5. The President shall choose one person from each State 
Federation Committee to form a Central Executive Committee. 

6. The President shall nominate one person out of members 
of the All-India Committee of the Federation, to act as General 
Secretary of the Federation. 

7. The President shall nominate another person out of the 
members of the All- India Committee of the Federation to act 
as a Treasurer. 


ARTICLE IX 

1. The President of the Federation and members of the 
State Committees of the Federation shall constitute the All- 
India Committee of the Federation. 

2. The President of the Federation shall be the President 
of the All-India Committee of the Federation. 

3. The All-India Committee of the Federation shall arrange 
for the implementation of the programme of work laid down 
by the Session of the Federation and shall have powers to 
deal with matters and situations that may arise during its 
term of office. 

4. The All-India Committee of the Federation shall have 
power to frame rules, not inconsistent with this constitution, 
for regulating all matter connected with the Federation which 
shall be binding on all subordinate Federation Committees. 

5. The All-India Committee of the Federation shall 
meet as often as required by the Central Executive 
Committee, or on a joint requisition addressed to the 
Central Executive Committee by not less than 50 
members. Such requisition shall specify the purpose for 
which the requisitionists desire a meeting of the All-India 


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ALL INDIA SCHEDULED CASTES FEDERATION 463 

Committee of the Federation. A requisitioned meeting shall be 
held within two months of the receipt of the requisition. At 
any requisitioned meeting, additional items of business may be 
brought up by the Central Executive Committee for consideration. 

6. At all meetings of the All-India Committee of the Federation 
other than requisitioned meetings, as far as possible, four hours 
shall be alloted for consideration of propositions of which due 
notice has been given by the members of the All-India Federation 
Committee in accordance with the rules prescribed in that behalf. 

7. The presence of twenty-five members shall be enough to 
form the quorum for a meeting of the All-India Committee of 
the Federation. 


ARTICLE X 

1. A General Session of the Federation shall ordinarily be 
held biannually at the time and place decided upon by the All- 
India Committee of the Federation or the Central Executive 
Committee. 

2. The General Session of the Federation shall consist of : 

(i) The President of the Federation; 

(ii) The Ex-President of the Federation; 

(iii) Members of the All-India Committee of the Federation; 

(iv) Members of the Central Executive Committee; and 

(v) Members of the Working Committee of the Village 
Federation, Taluka Federation, District Federation 
and State Federation. 

3. (i) The Session shall consider resolutions recommended 
for adoption by the Subjects Committee in the first instance. 

(ii) Thereafter, the Session shall take up any substantive 
motion not included in (i), but which forty delegates have, before 
the commencement of the day’s sitting requested the President 
in writing to allow them to place before the Session provided, 
however that no such motion shall be allowed unless it has been 
previously discussed at a meeting of the Subjects Committee, 
and has received the support of at least a third of the members 
then present in the Subject Committee. 


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464 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

4. The State Federation Committee in whose jurisdiction the 
Session of the Federation is held, shall make such arrangements 
for holding the Session as may be deemed necessary and for 
this purpose shall form a Reception Committee which shall 
work under its general guidance and which may include 
therein persons who are not its members. 

5. The Reception Committee shall elect its Chairman and 
other office-bearers from amongst its own members. 

6. The Reception Committee shall collect funds for 
the expenses of the Session and shall make all necessary 
arrangements for the reception and accommodation of 
delegates. It may also make necessary arrangements for the 
visitors. 

7. The receipts and disbursements of the Reception 
Committee shall be audited by an auditor or auditors, 
appointed by the State Federation Committee concerned, and 
the Statement of Accounts, together with the audit report, 
shall be submitted by the State Federation Committee to 
the Central Executive Committee not later than six months 
after the termination of the Session. Any surplus funds shall 
be divided equally between the All-India Committee of the 
Federation and the State Federation Committee. 

ARTICLE XI 

1. The All-India Committee of the Federation shall meet 
as the Subjects Committee under the Chairmanship of the 
President atleast two days before the Session. The Central 
Executive Committee or in case a new President has been 
elected before the Session and there is no Central Executive 
Committee appointed by him functioning, a Steering Committee 
to be nominated by him shall submit to the Subjects Committee 
the programme of work including draft resolutions, for the 
Session of the Federation. In preparing the draft resolutions 
it shall take into consideration there solutions recommended 
by the State Federation Committees and resolutions given 
notice of by members of the All-India Federation Committee. 

2. The Subjects Committee shall proceed to discuss the 
programme and shall frame resolutions for being moved in the 
open session. As far as possible, four hours shall be alloted for the 


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ALL INDIA SCHEDULED CASTES FEDERATION 465 

consideration of propositions of which due notice has been 
given by the State Federation Committees or members of the 
All-India Committee of the Federation. 

ARTICLE XII 

1. A Special Session of the Federation shall be held in 
case the All-India Committee of the Federation so decides 
or a majority of the State Federation Committees by their 
resolutions, request the President of the Federation to convene 
such a special Session. 

2. Such a Special Session shall be organised by the State 
Federation Committee of the State selected for the Session. 

ARTICLE XIII 

1. The Central Executive Committee shall appoint one of 
the members of the All-India Committee of the Federation to 
work as Returning Officer for the election of the President. 

Provided that a General Secretary who is a candidate for 
Presidentship shall be disqualified for such an appointment. 

2. Any member of the Federation may propose the name 
of any member for election as President of the Federation. 
The proposal must be seconded by three other members. Such 
proposal must reach the Returning Officer on or before the 
date fixed by the Central Executive Committee. 

3. The Returning Officer shall publish the names of all 
persons so proposed and it shall be open to any person whose 
name has been so proposed to withdraw his candidature 
within seven days of the publication of the proposed names 
by writing to the Returning Officer to that effect. 

4. After eliminating the names of those who have 
withdrawn, the Returning Officer shall immediately publish 
the names of remaining candidates and circulate them to 
the State Federation Committees. If after elimination there 
remains only one candidate, he shall be declared as duly 
elected as President of the next Session of the Federation. 

5. On a date fixed by the Central Executive Committee, 
which shall not ordinarily be less than seven days after the final 


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466 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

publication of the names of contesting candidates, each 
person qualified to take part in the selection shall be entitled 
to record, for the selection of a President, his vote in the 
following manner: 

(a) On the voting paper, which shall exhibit, the names of 
the candidates, the voter shall record his vote. 

(b) Every voter shall have one vote. 

(c) A simple majority shall be enough for the selection of 
the President. 

(d) The State Federation Committee shall immediately 
forward the ballot box to the office of the All- India 
Committee of the Federation. 

(e) As soon as may be, after the receipt of the ballot boxes, 
the Returning Officer, shall count the votes recorded 
for each candidate and a candidate who has secured 
a majority of the votes shall be declared elected as 
President. 

(f) In the event of any emergency arising by reason of any 
cause, such as death or resignation of the President, 
elected as above, the Central Executive Committee shall 
forthwith fix a date for a fresh election as prescribed 
above. In case such procedure is not found possible by 
the Central Executive Committee, it shall convene a 
meeting of the All-India Committee of the Federation 
to elect a President. 

(g) The President shall preside over the Sessions of 
Federation held after his election and during his term 
of office and he shall exercise all the powers of the 
Central Executive Committee when it is not in Session. 

PART V 

Duties, Functions and Powers of Office-Holders 

ARTICLE XIV 

1. The Central Executive Committee shall consist of the 
President of the Federation and twenty members, including a 
Treasurer and the General Secretary, who shall be appointed 
by the President. Ordinarily, members of the Central Executive 


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ALL INDIA SCHEDULED CASTES FEDERATION 467 

Committee will be appointed from amongst the members of 
the All-India Committee of the Federation but, in special cases 
a person who is not member of the All-India Committee of 
the Federation may be appointed, provided, however, that a 
person so appointed shall cease to be a member of the Central 
Executive Committee if he is not elected as a member of the 
All-India Committee of the Federation within six months of 
his appointment. 

2. The quorum for a meeting of the Central Executive 
Committee shall be seven. 

3. The Central Executive Committee shall be the highest 
executive authorty of the Federation and shall have the 
power to carry into effect the policy and programme laid 
down by the Federation and by the All-India Committee 
of the Federation and shall be responsible to the All-India 
Committee of the Federation. It shall be the final authority 
in all matters regarding interpretation and application in all 
matters regarding the provisions of this Constitution. 

4. The Central Executive Committee shall place before 
every meeting of the All-India Committee of the Federation a 
report of proceedings of the previous meeting of the All-India 
Committee of the Federation, and also an agenda of business 
for the meeting and shall allot time for non-official resolutions 
of which due notice may have been given by the members of 
the All-India Committee of the Federation in accordance with 
the rules prescribed in that behalf. 

5. The Central Executive may appoint one or more auditors, 
or inspectors or other officers to examine the records, papers 
and account books of all committees of the Federation and 
organisations. It shall be incumbent on all such committees 
and organisations to furnish all required information to the 
Auditors, Inspectors or other Officers and to give them access 
to all officers, accounts and records. 

6. The Central Executive Committee shall have the power : 

(i) to frame rules for the proper working of the 
organisation. Such rules shall as early as possible be 
placed for the consideration of All-India Committee 
of the Federation ; 


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468 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

(ii) to issue instructions not inconsistent with the 
Constitution and the rules in all matters not 
otherwise provided for; 

(iii) to superintend, direct and control all local 
committees and subordinate committees as well 
as the Reception Committee ; 

(iv) to take such disciplinary action as it may deem fit 
against the Chairmen or a Committee other than 
the All-India Committee of the Federation ; 

(v) to meet any special situation, the Central Executive 
Committee shall have the power to take such action 
in the interest of the Federation as it may deem fit; 
provided, however, that if any action is taken, which 
is beyond, the powers of the Central Executive 
Committee as defined in this Constitution, it shall 
be submitted as early as possible to the All-India 
Committee of the Federation for ratification ; 

(vi) to frame rules for maintaining discipline in the 
Federation and for disfranchising and enfranchising 
members. 

7. The Central Executive Committee shall have the 
powers in special cases of difficulties to relax application of 
provisions of this Constitution without in any way violating 
the Constitution. 

8. The Central Executive Committee shall have the accounts 
of the All-India Committee of the Federation audited annually 
by an auditor or auditors appointed by the All-India Committee 
of the Federation every year. 

PART VI 

Relation Between the Local Organisations and 
the Central Executive Committee 

ARTICLE XV 

1. Subject to the general control of the President, the 
General Secretary shall be in-charge of the office of the All- 
India Committee of the Federation. 


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ALL INDIA SCHEDULED CASTES FEDERATION 469 

2. The General Secretary shall be responsible collectively for 
the preparation and publication of a report of the proceedings 
of the Session of the Federation, including its audited accounts, 
as soon as possible after the Session. 

3. The General Secretary shall prepare a report of the work 
of the All-India Committee of the Federation and the Central 
Executive Committee including an audited statement of accounts, 
for the period since the last submission of such report and submit 
the same to the first meeting of the All-India Committee of the 
Federation held before the Session of the Federation. 

ARTICLE XVI 

1. All moneys received for the Federation on behalf of the 
Central Organisation of the Federation shall be paid to the 
President and shall be held by him for the use of the Federation. 

2. The Treasurer may obtain funds from the President for 
approved purposes. 

3. The Treasurer or any one making any disbursement on 
behalf of the Federation shall secure a voucher for every item 
of expenditure incurred by him out of any funds that may be 
in his hands. 


ARTICLE XVII 

1. Subject to the control of the Central Executive Committee, 
every State Federation Committee shall ordinarily function 
through District Federation Committees. 

2. Subject to the general supervision and control of the All- 
India Federation Committee, the State Federation Committee 
be in charge of the affairs of the Federation Committee within 
its own State. 

3. An annual report of the work done by the local organisations 
of the Federation in the State including its audited balance sheet 
shall be submitted by the Chairman to the Central Executive 
Committee. 

4. On failure of any State Federation to function in terms 
of this Constitution or in accordance with the direction of the 
State Federation, the latter may suspend the existing Committee 
and form an ad hoc Committee to carry on the work of the 
Federation in the State. 


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470 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

PART VII 
Finance 

ARTICLE XVIII 

1. There shall be levied on each village committee of the 
Federation an amount to be paid annually to the Federation. 

2. The levy shall be fixed by the Working Committee of the 
State in accordance with the Scheduled Castes population of 
the village which has accepted membership of the Federation. 

3. It shall be the duty of the Chairman of the Village 
Federation Committee to send statement of accounts to the 
Chairman of the State Federation Committee. 

4. The amount collected by the State Federation Committee 
shall be distributed as follows : 

(1) One-eighth shall be allotted to the Village Federation 
Committee. 

(2) One-eighth shall be allotted to the Taluka Federation 
Committee. 

(3) One-eighth shall be allotted to the District Federation 
Committee. 

(4) Five-sixteenth shall be allotted to the State 
Federation Committee. 

(5) Five-sixteenth shall be allotted to the Centre. 

5. Every member of the Central Executive Committee of the 
Federation and every member of the All-India Committee of the 
Federation whether elected, ex-officio, associate or nominated, 
shall pay an annual fee of Rs. 10 to the Federation. 

6. Every member of the Working Committee of the Village 
Committee, Taluka Committee, District Committee and State 
Committee shall pay an annual fee of Rs. 5 per year to their 
respective Committees. 

7. The fees due from members of the Central Executive shall 
form part of the revenues of the Federation. The fees due from 
members of the Village Committee shall form part of the Village 
Committee, from Working Committee of the Taluka shall go 
to the Taluka Committee, of the District to the District, from 
the Working Committee of the State to the State. 


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ATI , INDIA SCHEDULED CASTES FEDERATION 471 

8. Members will not be permitted to take part in any 
proceedings to which they may otherwise be entitled to if 
they fail to pay their fees. 

PART VIII 
Election 

ARTICLE XIX 

1. The election to the Village Federation Committee, 
Taluka Federation Committees and the District Federation 
Committees and for the office of the Chairman shall be by 
simple majority. 

2. The election to the All-India Committee of the Federation 
and for the office of the President shall be by simple majority. 

ARTICLE XX 

1. The office of a member of any Committee or Board or 
Tribunal constituted under this Constitution, shall be vacated 
by resignation, removal or death. 

2. All vacancies shall, unless otherwise provided for, be 
filled in the same manner in which the vacating member 
was chosen and members so elected shall hold office for the 
unexpired term of the seat vacated. 

3. In the absence of any provision to the contrary, a 
Committee or Board or Tribunal, once it is properly constituted, 
shall not become invalid by reason of any vacancy in it. 

ARTICLE XXI 

The term of every Committee, every Executive Committee 
and its office bearers shall be two years. 

PART IX 

Election Disputes 

ARTICLE XXII 

1. The State Federation Committee shall at its first general 
meeting, appoint by a majority of at least three-fourths of 
its members present and voting a State Election Tribunal 
consisting of not less than three and not more than five persons. 


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472 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

2. If any State Federation Committee fails to appoint a 
Election Tribunal as aforesaid, the Working Committee of 
the State shall appoint an Election Tribunal for that State. 

3. Every State Election Tribunal shall hold office ordinariiy 
for two years but, in any event, shall continue to function 
till a new tribunal is appointed. 

4. A member of an Election Tribunal shall not, while he 
is such member, hold any elective office in the Federation 
or stand as a candidate for any election. 

5. The Central Executive Committee shall have 
superintendence over the State Election Tribunal. 

6. The Central Executive Committee shall make rules for 
the conduct of business of the Election Tribunals. The State 
Election Tribunal may also make regulations not inconsistent 
with the rules made by the Working Committee for the 
conduct of business. 


ARTICLE XXIII 

1. There shall be an Election Tribunal for each State. 

2. It shall be open to any candidate within a constituency to 
lodge a complaint, in accordance with the rules made in that 
behalf, in respect of any election in that constituency, before 
the State Tribunal within fifteen days of the declaration of 
the result of such election and the District Election Tribunal 
shall decide the complaint and communicate the decision to 
the parties concerned as expeditiously as possible. 

3. Until an election is set aside by the Election Tribunal, 
the person elected shall be deemed to have been duly elected. 

4. The State Election Tribunal shall on its own motion 
or on the motion of the State Federation Committee or on 
the motion of the party concerned, have the power to direct 
that any person found guilty of misconduct in connection 
with any election, maintenance of a register and the rolls of 
members, lodging of a false complaint or objection knowing it 
to be so, shall be disqualified from standing as a candidate 
for election or be expelled from the Federation for a period 
to be named. 


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ATI , INDIA SCHEDULED CASTES FEDERATION 473 

5. Wherever fraudulent election is reported, the Working 
Committee concerned may enquire into such complaints and 
may take such action as may be deemed necessary. 

ARTICLE XXIV 

1. The State Federation shall each year at the first meeting 
after the 30th June appoint by a majority of at least three- 
fourths of its members present and voting, a State Returning 
Officer. 

2. If any State Federation Committee fails to appoint a 
State Returning Officer as aforesaid the Central Executive 
Committee shall appoint a State Returning Officer. 

3. The State Returning Officer shall conduct elections to 
all constituent bodies of the Federation in the State. He shall 
in consultation with the Executives of the State Federation 
and the District Federation Committees appoint District 
Returning Officers, Taluka Returning Officers and Village 
Returning Officers and such other officers for the proper 
conduct of elections in the State. He shall also perform such 
other functions allotted to him by the Central Executive 
Committee from time to time. 

PART X 

Selection of Candidates 

ARTICLE XXV 

1. The Central Executive Committee shall set up a Board 
consisting of the President and five other members, with 
the President as its Chairman for the purpose of selecting 
candidates for election to the Central and State Legislatures 
and shall frame rules in that behalf. 

2. The Election Board shall invite Local Committees of 
the Federation to propose names. The Board shall prepare 
a list of candidates in the order based, support received by 
the candidates. 

3. The Board in making its selection shall have regard to 
support received by the candidate. But it shall not be bound 
to elect the first. 


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474 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

4. The Central Election Board shall set up an Election 
Committee for each State to deal with the Elections to Local 
Bodies including selection of candidates and frame rules for 
the Committee. 

5. The State Election Committee shall recommend 
candidates for Central and State Legislatures to the Central 
Election Board. 


PART XI 
Miscellaneous 

ARTICLE XXVI 

1. The flag of the Federation shall consist of stars against 
a blue cloth cut in triangle. 

2. No person shall be a member of two organisations 
within Federation at one and the same time. 

3. A federation Committee may delegate any of its powers 
smaller committee or an individual. 

4. Population figures of the last available census shall be 
for all Federation purposes. 

5. Where there is a question of the value of fractions, a 
fraction of one-half or more shall be treated as one, and less 
than one-half as zero. 

6. Wherever in this Constitution, the word “vote” or any 
inflections occurs, it means or refers to a valid vote. 

7. Any question or dispute arising under this Constitution 
regard to its provisions, contents, interpretation or the 
procedure laid therein, between any member and member, 
committee between committee inter se, shall be determined 
by the apropriate authority or authorities indicated in this 
Constitution, and if no such authority is indicated, by the 
Central Executive Committee. The decision of such authority 
shall be final and binding on all members and committees 
of the Scheduled Castes Federation, and shall not be liable 
to question by any of them in a Court of law. 


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ATI , INDIA SCHEDULED CASTES FEDERATION 475 

PART XII 

Amendment of the Constitution 

ARTICLE XXVII 

1. This Constitution can be amended, altered or added 
to only by two-thirds majority of All-India Committee of the 
Federation, and ratified by a majority of the State Federation. 

2. The amendment whether by alteration or addition 
shall be circulated to the Chairman of the State Federation 
Committees in each State and obtain their decision in the 
matter. 

3. The Committees shall decide the issue by simple majority. 

4. On receipt of the decisions of the State Committees 
the President shall announce if the amendment is accepted 
or rejected. 


PART XIII 
Rules of Discipline 

ARTICLE XXVIII 

1. Any member of the Federation committing, any of the 
following acts shall be deemed to be guilty of indiscipline : 

(i) To act contrary to the declared policy of the 
Federation. 

(ii) To openly and publicly criticise the policy of the 
Federation. 

(iii) To openly and publicly criticise any member of the 
Federation. 

(iv) To form a group within the Federation to give 
support to any member with the object of challenging 
the authority of constitutionally elected leader of 
the Federation. 

(v) To spread ill-feeling against any member or to 
carry on any campaign of vilification. 

(vi) To obstruct the working of the Federation or any 
constituent body of the Federation. 

(vii) To misappropriate the funds of the Federation. 


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476 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

(viii) To join a party or a group not recognised by the 
Federation. 

(ix) To be an office-holder of the Federation and 
to misuse or to omit to use the powers of that 
office and thereby bring about the failure of the 
Federation. 

(x) To undertake any activity outside the aims, objects 
and powers of the Federation. 

(xi) To oppose the official candidate put up by the 
Federation in any election. 

2. Any member guilty of any act of indiscipline shall be 
liable to punishment by the Chairman of the State Federation 
subject to an appeal to the Central Working Committee. The 
decision of the Central Working Committee shall be final. 

3. Punishment for indiscipline may be : 

(i) Expulsion from the Federation which may be 
permanent. 

(ii) Suspension for a period from the Federation. 

(iii) Removal from office. 

(iv) Imposing of disability to hold office. 

PART XIV 

Transitory Provisions 

ARTICLE XXIX 

The President shall have the power to decide which 
Articles of the Constitution to be put into operation 
immediately. 

Explanation : President in this part means the person 
who is at present the President of the Federation. 

ARTICLE XXX 

The President for the purpose of removing any 
difficulties particularly in relation to the transition 
from the present set up to the provisions of the 
Constitution shall have power to direct that the 


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ATI , INDIA SCHEDULED CASTES FEDERATION 477 

Constitution during the transition period have effect subject 
to such adaptations, whether by way of modifications, addition 
or omission as he may deem to be necessary or expedient. The 
power of the President shall include the power to remove an 
office holder and nominate another in his place. 

ARTICLE XXXI 

Without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing 
provisions of Part X the President shall immediately re- 
constitute the State Federation, which is suspended or found 
to be not working properly. 


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10 

THE BUDDHIST SOCIETY OF INDIA 

The Buddhist Society of India was registered by Dr. B. R. 
Ambedkar on 4th May 1955 in the office of the Registrar of 
Companies, Mumbai. 

“On May 8th, 1955 at the function held at Nare Park, 
Bombay, he made a formal announcement of the establishment 
of this Society for propagation of Buddhism” 1 The constitution 
of the Society is as follows: Editors. 

CONSTITUTION OF 
THE BUDDHIST SOCIETY OF INDIA 

(As Registered By Dr. B. R. Ambedkar) 

Registered on 4th May, 1955 
Sd. Registrar of Companies, 

Mumbai. 

MEMORANDUM OF ASSOCIATION 


1. The name of the Society : 

The name of the Society is THE BUDDHIST SOCIETY 

OF INDIA. 

2. The objects of the Society : 

The aims and objects of the Society shall be : 

(1) To promote the spread of Buddhism in India. 

(2) To establish temples for Buddhist worship. 

(3) To establish schools and colleges for religious and 
scientific subjects. 

(4) To establish orphanages, hospitals and relief 
centres. 

(5) To start Buddhist Seminaries for the preparation 
of workers for the spread of Buddhism. 


1 : Janata : 14th May 1955. 


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THE BUDDHIST SOCIETY OF INDIA 479 

(6) To promote comparative study of all religions. 

(7) To undertake publication of Buddhist Literature 
and to issue leaflets and pamphlets for giving a 
true understanding of the Buddhist religion to the 
common mass. 

(8) To create a new order of priests, if it becomes 
necessary to do so. 

(9) To establish a press or presses for the purposes of 
carrying on the work of publication. 

(10) To hold gatherings and conferences of the Buddists 
of India for common action and to establish 
fellowship. 

3. The name, address and occupation of the President 
who is entrusted with the function of managing affairs of the 
Society are as under: — 

NAME ADDRESS OCCUPATION 

Dr. Bhimrao Ramji 26, Alipore Road, Civil Bar-at-Law 

Ambedkar lines, Delhi. 

The names of the members of the Society with their 
occupations and addresses 


NAME 

ADDRESS 

OCCUPATION 

(Sd.) Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar 

26, Alipore Road, Civil 
Lines, Delhi. 

Barrister-at- 

Law 

” Madhav G. Malvankar 

68, Hughes Road, 
Bombay-7. 

Medical 

Consultant 

” C. S.Pillai 

Mherwan Building, 2nd 
Floor, Sir P. Mehta 
Road, Bombay- 1. 

Architect 

” Bhalchandra K. Kabir 

59, Portuguese Church 
Road, Dadar, Bombay-28 

Service 

” Bhagawant Sayaji Gaikwad 

Plot No. 10, Road No. 19. 
Khar, Bombay-21. 

Service 

” S. D. Gaikwad 

Siddharth College. Anand 
Bhavan, Dr. D. Naoroji 
Road, Bombay- 1. 

Service 

” Kashiram Vishram Sawadkar B.D.D. Chawl No. 15, 

‘B’, Room, No. 32, 
Naigaum, Bombay-14. 

Service 


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480 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

The Buddhist Society of India 

Rules and regulations governing the Constitution of the society : — 

I. The name of the Society shall be THE BUDDHIST SOCIETY 
OF INDIA. 

II. The registered office of the Society shall be situated in Bombay. 

III. The objects of the Society shall be : — 

(1) To promote the spread of Buddhism in India. 

(2) To establish temples for Buddhist worship. 

(3) To establish schools and colleges for religious and 
scientific subject. 

(4) To establish orphanages, hospitals and relief centres. 

(5) To start Buddhist Seminaries for the preparation of 
workers for the spread of Buddhism. 

(6) To promote comparative study of all religions. 

(7) To undertake publication of Buddhist literature and 
to issue leaflets and pamphlets for giving a true 
understanding of the Buddhist religion to the common 
mass. 

(8) To create new order of priests, if it becomes necessary 
to do so. 

(9) T o establish a press or presses for the purposes of carrying 
on the work of publication. 

(10) To hold gatherings and conferences of the Buddhists of 
India for common action and to establish fellowship. 

IV. The powers of the Society shall be : — 

(1) To receive donations and to collect funds for the society. 

(2) To maintain priests. 

(3) To sell or mortgage the property of the society for the 
purpose of the society. 

(4) To own and hold property. 

(5) To purchase, take on lease or otherwise acquire property 
for the society and to invest and deal with the moneys of 
the society in such a manner as may from time to time 
be determined. 


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THE BUDDHIST SOCIETY OF INDIA 481 

(6) To construct, maintain, rebuild, repair, alter, replace 
or reinstate houses, buildings or works for the 
purposes of the society. 

(7) To sell, dispose of, improve, manage, develope, 
exchange, lease, mortgage or otherwise alienate 
or deal with all or any property of the society. 

(8) To co-operate, amalgamate or affiliate the society or 
any institution or institutions run by or belonging 
to the society with any other institution or society 
with a view to securing further advancement of the 
aims and objects of the society. 

(9) To raise money with or without security for carrying 
out any of the purposes, aims and objects of the 
society. 

(10) To do all other lawful things and acts as are 
incidental or conducive to the attainment of any 
of the aforesaid aims and objects. 

V. MEMBERSHIP OF THE SOCIETY : 

There shall be following classes of members of the 
society : — 

(1) Members, 

(2) Associate Members. 

(1) CONDITIONS FOR MEMBERSHIP : 

Who can be a Member : — 

Any person who is duly initiated into the Buddhist 
religion by his having undergone the ceremony of 
Dhammadiksha as prescribed by the Society and has 
paid his annual subscription shall be eligible to be a 
member of the Society. 

(2) ASSOCIATE MEMBERSHIP : 

Who can be an Associate Member : 

Any person who is sympathetic to the aims and objects 
of the Society and is not hostile to the Buddhist religion 
may be admitted as an Associate Member of the Society 
on paying the annual subscription. 


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482 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

(3) RESTRICTION OF MEMBERSHIP : 

Provided that the President may in any particular 
case decide that any member notwithstanding his 
having undergone the ceremony of Dhammadiksha 
shall remain a probationer for such period as he may 
prescribe. 

(4) A probationer and an Associate Member shall not be 
eligible to be a member of the Advisory Council and 
the General Council and shall have no right to vote. 

VI. EXPLANATION: 

The President may allow Corporation, Institutions and 
Associations to be members of the Society. 

VII. MEMBERSHIP DUES : 

Every member shall be bound to pay at least Re. 1 as 
membership fee per year whether he is a member or 
an associate member. Failure to pay fees in due time 
shall incure loss of membership as also right to vote 
unless such penalty is waived by the President. 

VIII. PRESIDENT : 

(1) The Society shall have a President. The term of 
the President shall be for his life. 

(2) The first President of the Society shall be 
Dr. Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar, M.A., Ph.D., D.Sc., 
Barrister- at- Law . 

(3) The President shall app